A Christmas Story star Melinda Dillion has died, her family have confirmed.
The actress was 83 at the time of her passing, and died last month, 9 January, in Los Angeles, California.
As well as A Christmas Story, Melinda was best known for starring in movies such as Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Harry and the Henderson, and F.I.S.T.
The news of her passing was shared by her family viaan online obituary. They haven’t shared further details on a memorial service or Melinda’s cause of death.
They did, however, encourage people to share their memories and sympathies on the page.
One fan of the star’s penned: “I did not personally know Ms Dillon, I’m just a fan. It’s February 3 and I am just now learning of her passing. I loved her portrayal of Barry’s Mom in the wonderful Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Sending love and comfort to all those close to her. Rest In Peace.”
Another added: “Thanks for the wonderful gifts you gave us through your work that will live on for generations to come. You will be missed.”
A third went on: “Melinda will be missed. Loved her in The Christmas Story. Condolences to her family,” as someone else labelled her as an “exceptional actress”.
Before making it onto the big screen, Melinda had a successful theatre career in the 60s and was even nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
It wasn’t until 1969 that she bagged her first film role, where she starred in short film The Cry of Jazz.
Seven years later Melinda starred in the biopic Bound For Glory, with Slap Shot following a year later in 1977.
1977 also marked the year she landed a role in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters Of The Third Kid, where she starred as Jillian Guiler.
Her performance in the film saw Melinda nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress.
It was 1983 when Melinda’s popular festive film A Christmas Story made its cinematic debut.
The movie boasts an impressive 90% on Rotten Tomatoes 40 years on from its release, with the film being labelled as a “holiday perennial”.
Melinda starred in the well-loved film alongside Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, Ian Petrella.
Peter – who played Ralphie in the cult classic – reprised his role last year for a sequel of the film titled A Christmas Story Christmas.
The synopsis for the film reads: “The family comedy 'A Christmas Story Christmas' is the long-awaited follow-up to annual holiday favourite, 'A Christmas Story'. This time, Ralphie is all grown up and must deal with Christmas and all that comes with it… as a dad. Peter Billingsley returns to the role that has made kids of all ages anticipate Christmas morning like no other.”
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