Melinda Dillon is an American actress who first earned recognition for appearing in the Broadway production of ‘Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ for which she earned a Tony Award nomination. She achieved further success with her supporting roles in the films ‘Absence of Malice’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’. Her performances in both the movies garnered her Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress. Since then, Dillon has consistently worked on the big screen and has made frequent appearances in television programs as well. She retired from acting in 2007 after making appearances in three episodes of the medical drama series ‘Heartland’. Born in Hope, Arkansas, USA, to an army offer, Dillon graduated from Hyde Park High School before landing her career on the stage and eventually in films. In 1963, she married actor Richard Libertini. The two had a son before parting ways in 1978.
Melinda Dillon got her start as a stage actress in 1962 when she appeared in the Broadway play ‘Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ and earned a Tony Award nomination for her performance. This was followed by her roles in the plays ‘Paul Sill's Story Theatre’ and ‘You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running’. She made her film debut with a role in the 1969 romantic comedy ‘The April Fools’ which also featured Catherine Deneuve and Jack Lemmon.
The next decade saw her breakthrough performance in ‘Bound for Glory,’ a 1976 biographical film which earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination. The following year, Dillon garnered further success when she played Jillian Guiler in the sci-fi ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. That year, she also did the film ‘Slap Shot’. This was followed by her role in the drama film ‘F.I.S.T.’ which was loosely based The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and their former President Jimmy Hoffa.
In the year 1981, the actress earned another Academy Award nomination for her performance in the drama film ‘Absence of Malice’. Soon after this, she made guest appearances in the drama series ‘Insight’. She next starred as Mother Parker in the Christmas comedy flick ‘A Christmas Story’. In the ensuing years, Dillon featured in many television films like ‘Shattered Spirits’, ‘Shattered Innocence’ and ‘Nightbreaker’. During this time, she also played Nancy Henderson in the fantasy comedy film ‘Harry and the Hendersons’.
She started the new decade with a role in ‘The Prince of Tides’ (1991), a romantic drama film based on Pat Conroy’s 1986 novel of the same name. In 1994, Dillon featured in the low-budget thriller ‘Sioux City’. A year later, she was cast as Mrs. Darling in the drama film ‘How to Make an American Quilt’. She next starred in the epic drama film ‘Magnolia,’ featuring a number of characters, each in search of happiness, meaning, and forgiveness in the San Fernando Valley. After appearing in three episodes of ‘Heartland’ in 2007, the actress retired from her career.
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Family & Personal Life
Melinda Dillon was born on October 13, 1939 in Hope, Arkansas, USA to E. Norine and W. S. Dillon who was an Army officer. She studied at Hyde Park High School. On September 30, 1963, she married actor Richard Libertini. They had one son, Richard, before they got divorced in 1978.