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A Christmas Story and Close Encounters of the Third Kind wouldn’t have been the same without Melinda Dillon. Dillon leaves behind an incredible legacy after dying on Jan. 9, 2023. So, how much money did the Oscar-nominated actor accrue in her lifetime? Here’s Melinda Dillon’s net worth at the time of her death.

Melinda Dillon died at 83 years old in February 2023

Kenneth Mars and Melinda Dillon in a movie
Kenneth Mars and Melinda Dillon | CBS via Getty Images

Melinda Dillon leaves behind a hefty net worth thanks to her incredible legacy. According to CNN, the actor died on Jan. 9, 2023, with no cause of death listed. The public learned of her death by early February 2023, and she died at 83.

Dillon was most well-known for her role as the mother in A Christmas Story, the 1983 classic that’s now a holiday favorite. She also worked with Steven Spielberg as a lead in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and took on notable roles in Absence of Malice, Slap Shot, Harry and the Hendersons, and Bound for Glory.

“Melinda was generous of spirit and lent such kindness to the character she played in Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” Spielberg stated, according to Deadline. “She was a wonderful actor, and as gifted in dramas — including her unforgettable turn in Absence of Malice — as she was in beloved comedies like A Christmas Story, Harry and the Hendersons, and Slapshot. We will all miss her.”

What was Melinda Dillon’s net worth when she died?

What was Melinda Dillon’s net worth when she died? According to Celebrity Net Worth, it was $3 million.

Dillon was born in Hope, Arkansas, in 1939. The New York Times reports she got her start on Broadway at 23 years old in 1962. She played the child wife, Honey, in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Her stunning performance had critics talking, and many people imagined she’d reach great success.

Unfortunately, Dillon didn’t reach the heights many people on Broadway and in Hollywood expected. She had difficulty handling the success and accolades, resulting in her deteriorating mental health. Dillon ended up in a mental hospital to deal with suicidal ideation. As she described, “I went crazy.”

“I wanted to be an actress on my terms,” she explained in 1976. “And that’s exactly what I’ve done. I’m obscure, right? Nobody knows me, but I’ve done exactly what I’ve wanted to do.”

Life as a suburban housewife got her back into acting


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Melinda Dillon briefly exited acting to take on the role of a housewife. She married Richard Libertini in 1963, but they divorced in 1978. After several years from the spotlight, she found her role as a wife and mother suffocating.

“I left home so early that when I found somebody who wanted to take care of me, I just stopped everything; I could have soared ahead — I really know that — and I chose not to,” Dillon said, according to The New York Times. “I got buried alive. That’s what got me to act again.”

“I had had the American dream — to go to New York and study with Lee Strasberg,” she continued. “I guess I just wasn’t prepared for it all to happen so quickly in New York. I’m not sophisticated, hadn’t had any kind of cultural education at all, so when it came to meeting people and presenting any kind of ideas I might have to offer, I would be terrified.”

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