For moviegoers, she will forever be the single mother devastated by her son's abduction by aliens in
's Close Encounters of the Third Kind .
Actress Melinda Dillon died at the age of 83 in early January, her family revealed tonight.
She had not appeared on screen since 2007, when she had a small role in the series
Twice nominated for the Oscars for best supporting role, notably in 1978 for her performance with Steven Spielberg, Melinda Dillon had also marked the minds of the voters of the Academy in 1982 in the drama
Absence de malice
, where she gave the reply to Paul Newman and Sally Fields and lent her features to a woman choosing to kill herself once her abortion is revealed by the press.
Born in Arkansas and having grown up on military bases, Melinda Dillon broke through, to her great surprise, immediately at the age of 24 in 1963 on the New York stages thanks to her tour de force in the original version of
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf ?
She received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress.
But the intensity of the role consumes her.
In the guise of Honey, the childish woman, the one who studies dramatic art under the orders of the rigorous Lee Strasberg, loses her footing.
When her partner left the room after nine months, Mélinda Dillon felt unable to continue and was committed.
I wasn't ready.
Everything went too fast.
I was not sophisticated and cultured enough.
New York, the conservatory terrified me
,” she says.
She bounced back and returned to Broadway in 1967 where she triumphed in
You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running.
In 1969, it was his first steps for the cinema in Folies d'Avril with Jack Lemmon.
In 1976 in
On the way to glory
where she played a folk singer, she amazed the director Hal Ashby who recommended her to Steven Spielberg who hired her a few days before the start of filming of
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The actress will then be the girlfriend of Sylvester Stallone in the trade union drama
But it was the Christmas classic
that brought her back, in 1983, to the hearts of millions of Americans and homes.
She portrays the mother of a little boy dreaming of a rifle in World War II America.
La vie est belle
Maman, j'ai missed l'avion,
is rebroadcast at each end-of-year holiday period.
In the 90s, Melinda Dillon starred in the melody
Prince of the Tides
by Barbra Streisand and
by Paul Thomas Anderson.