Steven Spielberg Salutes The Late Melinda Dillon, Praises Her Generosity Of Spirit

Director Steven Spielberg has issued a statement on the passing of Melinda Dillion, who became a two-time Oscar nominee under this guidance in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

“Melinda was generous of spirit and lent such kindness to the character she played in Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” said Spielberg. “She was a wonderful actor, and as gifted in dramas – including her unforgettable turn in Absence of Malice – as she was in beloved comedies like A Christmas Story, Harry and the Hendersons, and Slapshot. We will all miss her.”

Dillon died at 83 on January 9 in Los Angeles. No cause or other details were given.

Dillon was best-known for playing the mother whose young son is abducted by the aliens in Spielberg’s 1977 epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind. She and Roy (Richard Dreyfuss) inexplicably are drawn to Devils Tower in Wyoming as they struggle to make sense of what has happened to them. She earned a Supporting Actress Oscar nom for the role.

She also played the mother of the young lead Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) in the 1983 holiday classic A Christmas Story, memorably warning the boy who wants a BB rifle that, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

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