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Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: Melinda Rose Dillon

Melinda Rose Dillon was born Oct. 13, 1939, in Hope, but found fame in Hollywood. After studying acting with Lee Strasberg and at Chicago’s Goodman School of Drama, she started a career as an improvisational comedian and stage actress, including time with the Second City troupe.

The talented actor was nominated for a Tony Award for a 1962 Broadway production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a Golden Globe Award for 1976’s Bound for Glory and an Academy Award for 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and 1981’s Absence of Malice, and the Screen Actors Guild recognized her for her performance in Magnolia in 1999.

She is probably best known, though, as the mother in 1983’s A Christmas Story, where she answers her son’s request for a Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle with “No, you’ll shoot your eye out.”

You can read the entire Encyclopedia entry at