Melinda Dillon (Actress) as Mother Parker - A Christmas Story
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Updated: 12/20/17

Name: Melinda Dillon

Birth Name: Melinda Rose Dillon

Born: October 13, 1939, Hope, Arkansas, U.S.

Claim To Fame: Dillon is best known for her role as the compassionate mother of Ralphie and Randy in Bob Clark's 1983 film A Christmas Story.

Family Life: She was married to character actor Richard Libertini from 1963-1978, with whom she had one child.

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Info: Dillon's career began as an improvisational comedian and stage actress. She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Honey in the original 1962 Broadway production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

She made her film debut in 1969's The April Fools, and went on to be nominated for the Best Female Acting Debut Golden Globe for the 1976 Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory. In 1977, she played the role of a mother whose young child is abducted by aliens in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

The same year she appeared with Paul Newman in the comedy classic, Slap Shot. Four years later she was once again nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as a suicidal teacher in 1981's Absence of Malice, opposite Paul Newman.

In 1983, she starred as the mother of Ralphie and Randy in Bob Clark's film A Christmas Story. This is perhaps her best known role. She is also well known for appearing opposite John Lithgow in the Bigfoot comedy Harry and the Hendersons. Some of her roles in the 1990s include the Barbra Streisand drama The Prince of Tides, the low-budget Lou Diamond Phillips thriller Sioux City, and the drama How to Make an American Quilt.

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Trivia: She has played two Hoosiers (Indiana residents) - in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) (which takes place in Muncie, Indiana), and in A Christmas Story (1983) (which takes place in Hohman, Indiana). Hohman is actually the name the main Avenue that passes through the historic district of the city Hammond, Indiana.

Was nominated for Broadway's 1963 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Has performed on stage with Chicago's legendary Second City improvisational comedy troupe.

Studied acting with both Lee Strasberg and at the Goodman Theater School.

Daughter of W. S. (an army officer) and E. Norine (Barnett) Dillon.

Played two different characters in Bound for Glory (1976).

Although she won a Theater World Award as the very first actress to play the role of "Honey" in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (her Broadway debut) she was passed over for the film casting when the role was given to Sandy Dennis who went on to win an Oscar.

Grew up in the same town and went to the same high school as President Bill Clinton.

Where Are They Now: Melinda Dillon has been out of the acting game for over a decade now. THere's not much information about her current whereabouts, but hopefully she's enjoying retirement.

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