Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Melinda Dillon was 44 years old when she appeared as Ralphie's mom in A Christmas Story in 1983. A Tony-nominated actress for the original 1962 production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, she'd worked fairly steadily in film and television from 1969 to 1983. She took a four-year break between 1971 and 1975, after the birth of her son (Richard Libertini, Jr. -- now a bass violin player with the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra). She married character actor Richard Libertini in 1962, and they divorced in 1978.
She worked steadily on TV and film afterward, notably appearing in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and A Christmas Story (1983).
She's worked every single year since 1983, although she limits her work to about a single film, TV movie, or TV guest-shot a year. Her more notable work includes Harry and the Hendersons (1987), The Prince of Tides (1991), To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995), How to Make an American Quilt (1995), Magnolia (1999), and the TV show Heartland (2007), in which she had a three-episode recurring role.
She's now 74 years old, and has not acted in six years.
In addition to her Tony nomination, she was nominated for a Best Debut Golden Globe for Bound for Glory in 1976, a Best Actress Oscar in 1977 for Close Encounters, a Best Actress Oscar again in Absence of Malice in 1981, and a Best Cast SAG Award for Magnolia in 1999.