An original member of the Second City improv troupe, Melinda Dillon scored a Tony nomination for her supporting work as the vulnerable Honey in the original Broadway production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" After her Golden Globe-nominated turn in "Bound for Glory" (1976), she earned an Oscar nomination for one of her most famous roles, that of a mother in search of her alien-abducted child in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977). After roles in "Slap Shot" (1977) and "F.I.S.T." (1978), she earned another Oscar nomination as a woman driven to suicide by the machinations of a reporter (Sally Field) in "Absence of Malice" (1981) and achieved pop cultural immortality as the sweet, slightly goofy mother in the ultimate holiday classic, "A Christmas Story" (1983). Dillon scored important roles as John Lithgow's wife in "Harry and the Hendersons" (1987) and Nick Nolte's troubled sister in "The Prince of Tides" (1991), but notched smaller supporting turns in the ensemble pieces "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" (1995), "How to Make an American Quilt" (1995) and "Magnolia" (1999). Working steadily but quietly, the actress continued to pop up in character roles, including an uncredited turn in "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" (2012). Equally adept at comedy as well as drama, Melinda Dillon was an exceptionally gifted actress who brought a unique spark to any project in which she appeared.