Melinda Dillon took the acting world by storm through her portrayal of Mary in 1976’s Bound for Glory, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year. A year later, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Ironically, perhaps, Dillon’s most famous role didn’t earn her any award nominations – Mother Parker in A Christmas Story. Melinda played Ralphie’s loving and affectionate mother; she supported Ralphie during his quest for the Red Ryder air rifle, which in his eyes, was the best possible Christmas gift.

Dillon lives a lowkey life following her retirement from acting

The long-awaited A Christmas Story sequel – A Christmas Story Christmas – debuted on HBO in November 2022 – and to fans’ surprise, Melinda Dillon wasn’t in the film. Most of the original production’s stars reprised their roles in the sequel, except for Dillon, who retired from acting in 2017. 

Melinda Dillon, 83, lives a lowkey life following her retirement from acting. As far as we know, Dillon is enjoying life away from acting alone; she divorced her ex-husband Richard Libertini in 1978. The couple shares a son named Richard. 

Dillon’s replacement in A Christmas Story Christmas is Julie Hagerty, the star of Lost in America, Just Friends, Beyond Therapy, and Marriage Story. Julie is over a decade and a half younger than Melinda, but she is an industry veteran.