Working steadily for decades in a wide variety of mediums, JoBeth Williams successfully transitioned from effervescent leading lady to mature actress with a lengthy résumé of consistently strong performances. Possibly best remembered for her breakout portrayal of a terrified suburban housewife in the supernatural horror film "Poltergeist" (1982), Williams played Diane Freeling with a conviction and authenticity that kept audiences on the edge of their seats. On the heels of that success was the ensemble drama "The Big Chill" (1983), in which Williams' character, unhappy with her current marriage, considers rekindling a relationship with her old flame during a weekend reunion with college friends. Considered a classic by a generation, the film marked the directorial debut of writer Lawrence Kasdan, and allowed Williams to act alongside some of the brightest stars in film at that time. Williams made her mark on television, with roles in TV-movies like the Cold-War cautionary tale "The Day After" (1983), and in "Adam" (NBC, 1983), in which she portrayed the anguished mother of a missing child. She also impressed with her initial outing as a director with "On Hope" (Showtime, 1994), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film. Following her appearance with Nick Nolte in Arthur Hiller's black comedy, "Teachers" (1984), there were fewer headlining roles in feature projects, and more work on television series such as "Dexter" (Showtime, 2006-13). Williams soon settled into a steady career pattern, frequently playing mother figures in smaller films like "In the Land of Women" (2007), making Williams one of the few women of a certain age who successfully segued into a respected character actress after enjoying a high-profile leading lady career in her prime.