Actress Melinda Dillon, who played the mom in A Christmas Story, died on January 9, 2023. Her passing was only recently reported. She was 83 years old.

Dillon starred as the loving, stressed out mother in the 1983 perennial holiday classic. She was also a two-time Academy Award nominee, first for Close Encounters of the Third Kind in ’77, as a mother who searches for her son after he’s been abducted by aliens. Her second was for Absence of Malice in ’81 as a Catholic woman who struggles and suffers when her abortion is exposed by a journalist.

Born on October 13, 1939, in Hope, Arkansas, Dillon spent her childhood moving around to military bases with her parents. She studied at the Goodman School of Drama and her professional career began with Chicago’s Second City improv troupe. Dillon was also a theater actress who earned a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut in a 1963 production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. She was also in You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running and Paul Sills’ Story Theatre.

Her onscreen career began in ’59 in the short film The Cry of Jazz, then a few years later she was in The Defenders, The April Fools, and an episode of Bonanza. She was in The Jeffersons, earned a Golden Globe nomination for Bound for Glory, was in Slap Shot, Fallen Angel, and The Mississippi.

Dillon was in the 1980s reboot of The Twilight Zone, Harry and the Hendersons, the 1990 Captain America, The Prince of Tides, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, and How to Make an American Quilt. She appeared in Picket Fences and Tracey Takes On…, was in Magnolia, Adam & Steve, and her final roles were in Reign Over Me and Heartland in 2007.