Meryl Streep
American actress
Meryl Streep
Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television, and film. She is widely regarded as one of the most talented film actresses of all time. Streep made her professional stage debut in 1971's The Playboy of Seville, before her screen debut in the television movie The Deadliest Season in 1977. In that same year, she made her film debut with Julia.
Biography
Meryl Streep's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Meryl Streep from around the web
Streep vs Trump: Round 2
Reuters.com - 4 days
Meryl Streep, who at the recent Golden Globes hit out at U.S. President Donald Trump, responds to his Twitter reaction and explains why she speaks out against him. Rough Cut - no reporter narration.
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Reuters.com article
Some tips for getting that Oscar speech just right — first, start writing it now
LATimes - 5 days
Barring something spectacular happening at the Oscars on Feb. 26, we know who's a shoo-in to win the imaginary best Speech of the Season statuette this year: Meryl Streep. The Oscar-winning actress' use of her lifetime achievement award acceptance at the Golden Globes in January to focus on political...
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LATimes article
Stephen Fry Delivers A Meryl Streep-Loving Trump Slam At BAFTAs
Huffington Post - 6 days
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); That deserved a kiss. Host Stephen Fry on Sunday spiced up the BAFTAS in London with a line that both praised Meryl Streep and dissed President Donald Trump. Introducing the actress in the audience at Royal Albert Hall, Fry said, “and unquestionably one of the greatest actress of all time ― only a blithering idiot would think otherwise ― Meryl Streep!” He then made his way to her seat, noting that he traditionally gets a kiss from o ...
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Huffington Post article
Actress Meryl Streep renews harsh criticism of Trump in emotional speech - Host Alec Baldwin, 'SNL' cast skewer Trump White House
Fox News - 7 days
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Fox News article
Meryl Streep Pledges to Stand Up to ‘Brownshirts’ in Tirade Against Trump
NYTimes - 8 days
Accepting an award from the Human Rights Campaign on Saturday, Ms. Streep escalated her attack on the president that began with her Golden Globes speech last month.
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NYTimes article
Trump Calls New England Patriots "Overrated Flunkies"
Huffington Post - 9 days
No, not true. He hasn't actually done that yet. But there's still time. Given how astonishingly thin-skinned and hyper-attentive this president is, and given the media's propensity for turning molehills into mountains, there's still plenty of time for something terribly awkward and cringe-worthy to happen. A brief look at the history. During last month's Golden Globe awards telecast, actress Meryl Streep took what was presumed to be an unkind swipe at newly elected President Trump. Although she didn't specifically mention his name, all those who witnessed her speech agreed that there was little doubt whom she was talking about. Trump's knee-jerk response was Vintage Trump. Instead of saying something gentlemanly and classy, like "Because I've been so busy getting ready for the presidency, I wasn't able to watch the telecast, so I'm not quite sure what was said, but I've always considered Meryl one of our finest actresses," Trump did the opposite. He did what comes most ...
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Huffington Post article
The Joke's On Conservatives Who Love Lady Gaga For 'Not Getting Political'
Huffington Post - 12 days
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Lady Gaga brought razzle-dazzle to Super Bowl LI on Sunday, pulling out all the stops in her mesmerizing, hit-filled halftime show. No stranger to controversial statements, the pop superstar nonetheless steered clear of politics ― or, at least, overt political references ― in the performance, which included “Poker Face,” “Telephone” and “Bad Romance.” Turns out, this decision may have earned Gaga a few new fans in an unlikely demographic: right-wing conser ...
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Huffington Post article
Meryl Streep Fast Facts
CNN - 14 days
View Fast Facts from CNN about the life Meryl Streep, 19 time Academy Award nominated actress and three time winner.
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CNN article
'It's A Playground': Meryl Streep On Acting With Abandon
NPR - 16 days
Streep is nominated for an Oscar for playing Florence Foster Jenkins, a socialite who didn't let her imperfect voice stop her from becoming an opera singer. Originally broadcast Aug. 10, 2016.
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NPR article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Meryl Streep
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2016
    Age 66
    Streep gave a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
    More Details Hide Details Author Karina Longworth notes that despite her "high level of stardom" for decades, Streep has managed to maintain a relatively normal personal life. Streep lived with actor John Cazale for three years until his death from bone cancer in March 1978. Al Pacino remarked that "I've hardly ever seen a person so devoted to someone who is falling away like John was. To see her in that act of love for this man was overwhelming." Streep said of his death, "I didn't get over it. I don't want to get over it. No matter what you do, the pain is always there in some recess of your mind, and it affects everything that happens afterwards. I think you can assimilate the pain and go on without making an obsession of it". Streep married sculptor Don Gummer six months after Cazale's death. They have four children: musician Henry (born 1979), actresses Mamie (born 1983) and Grace (born 1986), and model Louisa (born 1991). In August 1985, the family moved into a $1.8-million private estate in Connecticut, with an extensive art studio to facilitate Streep's husband's work, and lived there until they bought a $3-million mansion in Brentwood, Los Angeles, in 1990. They eventually moved back to Connecticut. Streep's net worth is estimated to be $75-million.
    In March 2016 Streep, among others, signed a letter asking for gender equality throughout the world, in observance of International Women's Day; this was also organized by the ONE Campaign.
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    In July 2016, it was reported that Streep was in talks to re-team with Rob Marshall and Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns where she would play the title character's cousin Topsy.
    More Details Hide Details Such is Streep's contemporary position in world cinema that Vanity Fair has commented that "it's hard to imagine that there was a time before Meryl Streep was the greatest-living actress". Emma Brockes of The Guardian notes that despite Streep's being "one of the most famous actresses in the world", it is "strangely hard to pin an image on Streep", in a career where she has "laboured to establish herself as an actor whose roots lie in ordinary life". Despite her success, Streep has always been modest about her own acting and achievements in cinema. She has stated that she has no particular method when it comes to acting, learning from the days of her early studies that she can't be articulate. She said in 1987, "I have a smattering of things I've learned from different teachers, but nothing I can put into a valise and open it up and say 'Now which one would you like'? Nothing I can count on and that makes it more dangerous. But then the danger makes it more exciting." She has stated that her ideal director is one who gives her complete artistic control, and allowing a degree of improvisation and her to learn from her own mistakes.
    In February 2016, Streep served in her first appearance as president of the main competition jury at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.
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  • 2015
    Age 65
    Also in 2015, Streep sent each member of the U.S. Congress a letter supporting the Equal Rights Amendment.
    More Details Hide Details Each of her letters was sent with a copy of the book Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for the ERA is Now by Jessica Neuwirth, president of the ERA Coalition.
    In 2015, Streep signed an open letter for which the ONE Campaign had been collecting signatures; the letter was addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they served as the head of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa respectively, which was set to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 to establish new development goals for the generation.
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    In April 2015, it was announced that Streep had funded a screenwriters lab for female screenwriters over forty years old, called the Writers Lab, to be run by New York Women in Film & Television and the collective IRIS.
    More Details Hide Details As of the announcement, the Writers Lab is the only initiative in the world for female screenwriters over forty years old.
    Streep, when asked in a 2015 interview by Time Out magazine if she was a feminist, answered, "I am a humanist, I am for nice easy balance."
    More Details Hide Details In 2014, Streep established two scholarships for students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell – the Meryl Streep Endowed Scholarship for English majors, and the Joan Hertzberg Endowed Scholarship (named for Streep's former classmate at Vassar College) for math majors.
    In 2015, Streep starred in Jonathan Demme's Ricki and the Flash, playing a grocery store checkout worker by day who is a rock musician at night, and who has one last chance to reconnect with her estranged family.
    More Details Hide Details Streep learned to play the guitar for the semi-autobiographical dramedy film, which reunited her with her eldest daughter Mamie Gummer. Reviews of the film were generally mixed. Streep's other film of the year was director Sarah Gavron's period drama Suffragette, co-starring Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter. In the film, she played the small but pivotal role of Emmeline Pankhurst, a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement who helped women win the right to vote. The film received mostly positive reviews, particularly for the performances of the cast, though its distributor earned criticism that Streep's prominent position within the marketing was misleading. She next starred in the Stephen Frears-directed comedy Florence Foster Jenkins, an eponymous biopic about opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins. Other cast members include Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg.
  • 2014
    Age 64
    In July 2014, it was announced that Streep would portray Maria Callas in Master Class, but the project was pulled after director Mike Nichols's death in November of the same year.
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    Her final film of 2014 was the Disney film adaptation of the Broadway musical Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall.
    More Details Hide Details A fantasy genre crossover inspired by the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales, it centers on a childless couple, who sets out to end a curse placed on them by a vengeful witch, played by Streep. Though the film was dismissed by some critics such as Mark Kermode as "irritating naffness", Streep's performance earned her Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG, and Critic's Choice Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress.
    Streep's first film of 2014 was the motion picture adaptation of the young adult novel The Giver.
    More Details Hide Details Set in 2048, the social science fiction film tells the story of a post-apocalyptic community without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, where a young boy is chosen to learn the real world. Streep, who plays the community's leader, was aware of the book before being offered the role by co-star and producer Jeff Bridges. Upon its release, The Giver was met with generally mixed to negative reviews from critics. The same year, she also had a small role in the period drama film The Homesman. Set in the 1850s midwest, the film stars Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones as an unusual pair who help three women driven to madness by the frontier to get back East. Streep appears not until the end of the film, playing a preacher's wife, who takes the women into care. The Homesman premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival where it garnered largely positive reviews from critics.
  • 2013
    Age 63
    At the National Board of Review Awards in 2013, Streep labeled Walt Disney as "anti-semitic" and a "gender bigot."
    More Details Hide Details Former actors, employees and animators who knew Disney during his lifetime rebuffed the comments as misinformed and selective. The Walt Disney Family Museum issued a statement rebuking Streep's allegations indirectly, citing, among others, Disney's contributions to Jewish charities and his published letters stating that women "have the right to expect the same chances for advancement as men." However, Disney's grandniece, Abigail Disney, wholeheartedly agreed with Streep's statements, stating that he was an "anti-Semite," and "racist" who was also an exemplary filmmaker whose work "made billions of people happy."
    In 2013, Streep starred alongside Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, and others in the black comedy drama August: Osage County about a dysfunctional family that reunites into the familial house when their patriarch suddenly disappears.
    More Details Hide Details Based on Tracy Letts's Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, Streep received positive reviews for her portrayal of the family's strong-willed and contentious matriarch, who is suffering from oral cancer and an addiction to narcotics, and was subsequently nominated for another Golden Globe, SAG, and Academy Award.
  • 2012
    Age 62
    In 2012, Streep reunited with Prada director David Frankel on the set of the comedy-drama film Hope Springs, co-starring Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell.
    More Details Hide Details Streep and Jones play a middle-aged couple, who attend a week of intensive marriage counseling to try to bring back the intimacy missing in their relationship. Reviews for the film were mostly positive, with critics praising the "mesmerizing performances which offer filmgoers some grown-up laughs – and a thoughtful look at mature relationships".
  • 2010
    Age 60
    President Barack Obama awarded her the 2010 National Medal of Arts and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
    More Details Hide Details In 2003, the government of France made her a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
  • FIFTIES
  • 2009
    Age 59
    In 2009, Streep played chef Julia Child in Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia, co-starring Amy Adams and Stanley Tucci. (Tucci and Streep had worked together earlier in Devil Wears Prada.) The first major motion picture based on a blog, Julie and Julia contrasts the life of Child in the early years of her culinary career with the life of young New Yorker Julie Powell (Adams), who aspires to cook all 524 recipes in Child's cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
    More Details Hide Details Longworth believes her caricature of Julia Child was "quite possibly the biggest performance of her career while also drawing on her own experience to bring lived-in truth the story of a late bloomer". The same year, Streep starred in Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy It's Complicated, with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. She received nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for both Julie & Julia and It's Complicated; she won the award for Julie & Julia and later received her 16th Oscar nomination for it. She also lent her voice to Mrs. Felicity Fox in the stop-motion film Fantastic Mr. Fox. Streep's first film of the 2010s was Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady (2011), a British biographical film about Margaret Thatcher, which takes a look at the Prime Minister during the Falklands War and her years in retirement. Streep, who sat through a session at the House of Commons to observe British MPs in action in preparation for her role, called her casting "a daunting and exciting challenge." While the film had a mixed reception, Streep's performance got rave reviews, earning her Best Actress awards at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs as well as her third win at the 84th Academy Awards. Former advisers, friends and family of Thatcher criticized Streep's portrayal of her as inaccurate and biased. The following year, after Thatcher's death, Streep issued a formal statement describing Thatcher's "hard-nosed fiscal measures" and "hands-off approach to financial regulation," while praising her "personal strength and grit."
  • 2008
    Age 58
    In 2008, Streep was nominated for a Grammy Award (her fifth nomination) for her work on the Mamma Mia! soundtrack.
    More Details Hide Details Throughout her career, Streep has narrated numerous audio books, including three by children's book author William Steig: Brae Irene, Spinky Sulks, and The One and Only Shrek! Streep is the spokesperson for the National Women's History Museum, to which she has donated a significant amount of money (including her fee for The Iron Lady, which was $1 million) and hosted numerous events. On October 4, 2012, Streep donated $1 million to The Public Theater in honor of both its late founder, Joseph Papp, and her friend, the author Nora Ephron. She also supports Gucci's "Chime For Change" campaign that aims to spread female empowerment.
    Streep's other film of 2008 was Doubt featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis.
    More Details Hide Details A drama revolving around the stern principal nun (Streep) of a Bronx Catholic school in 1964 who brings charges of pedophilia against a popular priest (Hoffman), the film became a moderate box office success, but was hailed by many critics as one of the best of 2008. The film received five Academy Awards nominations, for its four lead actors and for Shanley's script. Ebert, who awarded the film the full four stars, highlighted Streep's caricature of a nun, who "hates all inroads of the modern world", while Kelly Vance of The East Bay Express remarked: "It's thrilling to see a pro like Streep step into an already wildly exaggerated role and then ramp it up a few notches just for the sheer hell of it. Grim, red-eyed, deathly pale Sister Aloysius may be the scariest nun of all time."
    In 2008, Streep found major commercial success when she starred in Phyllida Lloyd's Mamma Mia!, a film adaptation of the musical of the same name, based on the songs of Swedish pop group ABBA.
    More Details Hide Details Co-starring Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård and Colin Firth, Streep played a single mother and a former girl-group singer, whose daughter (Seyfried), a bride-to-be who never met her father, invites three likely paternal candidates to her wedding on an idyllic Greek island. An instant box office success, Mamma Mia! became Streep's highest-grossing film to date, with box office receipts of US$602.6 million, also ranking it first among the highest-grossing musical films for now. Nominated for another Golden Globe, Streep's performance was generally well received by critics, with Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe commenting "the greatest actor in American movies has finally become a movie star."
  • 2007
    Age 57
    Streep's last film of 2007 was Robert Redford's Lions for Lambs, a film about the connection between a platoon of United States soldiers in Afghanistan, a U.S. senator, a reporter, and a California college professor.
    More Details Hide Details Like Evening, critics felt that the talent of the cast was wasted and that it suffered from slow pacing, although one critic announced that Streep positively stood out, being "natural, unforced, quietly powerful", in comparison to Redford's forced performance.
    Also in 2007, Streep had a short role alongside Vanessa Redgrave, Glenn Close and her eldest daughter Mamie Gummer in Lajos Koltai's drama film Evening, based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Susan Minot.
    More Details Hide Details Switching between the present and the past, it tells the story of a bedridden woman, who remembers her tumultuous life in the mid-1950s. The film was released to a lukewarm reaction from critics, who called it "beautifully filmed, but decidedly dull and a colossal waste of a talented cast."
    In 2007, Streep was cast in four films.
    More Details Hide Details She portrayed a wealthy university patron in Chen Shi-zheng's much-delayed feature drama Dark Matter, a film about a Chinese science graduate student who becomes violent after dealing with academic politics at a U.S. university. Inspired by the events of the 1991 University of Iowa shooting, and initially scheduled for a 2007 release, producers and investors decided to shelve Dark Matter out of respect for the Virginia Tech massacre in April 2007. The drama received negative to mixed reviews upon its limited 2008 release. Streep played a U.S. government official who investigates an Egyptian foreign national suspected of terrorism in the political thriller Rendition (2007), directed by Gavin Hood. Keen to get involved in a thriller film, Streep welcomed the opportunity to star in a film genre for which she was not usually offered scripts and immediately signed on to the project. Upon its release, Rendition was less commercially successful, and received mixed reviews.
  • 2006
    Age 56
    Also in 2006, Streep, along with Lily Tomlin, portrayed the last two members of what was once a popular family country music act in Robert Altman's final film A Prairie Home Companion.
    More Details Hide Details A comedic ensemble piece featuring Lindsay Lohan, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline and Woody Harrelson, the film revolves around the behind-the-scenes activities at the long-running public radio show of the same name. The film grossed more than US$26 million, the majority of which came from domestic markets. Commercially, Streep fared better with a role in The Devil Wears Prada (2006), a loose screen adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's 2003 novel of the same name. Streep portrayed the powerful and demanding Miranda Priestly, fashion magazine editor (and boss of a recent college graduate played by Anne Hathaway). Though the overall film received mixed reviews, her portrayal, of what Ebert calls the "poised and imperious Miranda", drew rave reviews from critics and earned her many award nominations, including her record-setting 14th Oscar bid, as well as another Golden Globe. Upon its commercial release, the film became Streep's biggest commercial success yet, grossing more than US$326.5 million worldwide.
    In August and September 2006, Streep starred onstage at The Public Theater's production of Mother Courage and Her Children at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park.
    More Details Hide Details The Public Theater production was a new translation by playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America), with songs in the Weill/Brecht style written by composer Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change); veteran director George C. Wolfe was at the helm. Streep starred alongside Kevin Kline and Austin Pendleton in this three-and-a-half-hour play.
  • 2005
    Age 55
    Streep was next cast in the 2005 comedy film Prime, directed by Ben Younger.
    More Details Hide Details In the film, she played Lisa Metzger, the Jewish psychoanalyst of a divorced and lonesome business-woman, played by Uma Thurman, who enters a relationship with Metzger's 23-year-old son (Bryan Greenberg). A modest mainstream success, it eventually grossed US$67.9 million internationally. Roger Ebert noted how Streep had "that ability to cut through the solemnity of a scene with a zinger that reveals how all human effort is".
  • 2004
    Age 54
    In 2004, Streep was awarded the AFI Life Achievement Award by the board of directors of the American Film Institute.
    More Details Hide Details She appeared in Jonathan Demme's moderately successful remake of The Manchurian Candidate, co-starring Denzel Washington, playing the role of a woman who is both a U.S. senator and the manipulative, ruthless mother of a vice-presidential candidate. The same year, she played the supporting role of Aunt Josephine in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events alongside Jim Carrey, based on the first three novels in Snicket's book series. The black comedy received generally favorable reviews from critics, and won the Academy Award for Best Makeup. Inspired by her love of Giverny in France and Claude Monet, Streep did the narration for the film Monet's Palate, with Alice Waters, Steve Wynn, Daniel Boulud and Helen Rappel Bordman.
  • 2003
    Age 53
    In 2003, Streep had a cameo as herself in the Farrelly brothers comedy Stuck on You (2003) and reunited with Mike Nichols to star with Al Pacino and Emma Thompson in the HBO adaptation of Tony Kushner's six-hour play Angels in America, the story of two couples whose relationships dissolve amidst the backdrop of Reagan Era politics.
    More Details Hide Details Streep, who was cast in four roles in the mini-series, received her second Emmy Award and fifth Golden Globe for her performance.
  • 2002
    Age 52
    In 2002 Streep appeared alongside Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore in Stephen Daldry's The Hours, based on the 1999 novel by Michael Cunningham.
    More Details Hide Details Focusing on three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the novel Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, the film was generally well received and won all three leading actresses a Silver Bear for Best Actress.
  • 2001
    Age 51
    In 2001, Streep returned to the stage for the first time in more than twenty years, playing Arkadina in The Public Theater's revival of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, directed by Mike Nichols and co-starring Kevin Kline, Natalie Portman, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
    More Details Hide Details The same year, she began work on Spike Jonze's comedy-drama Adaptation (2002), in which she portrayed real-life journalist Susan Orlean. Lauded by critics and viewers alike, the film won Streep her fourth Golden Globe in the Best Supporting Actress category. A. O. Scott considered Streep's portrayal of Orlean to have been "played with impish composure", noting the contrast in her "wittily realized" character with love interest Chris Cooper's "lank-haired, toothless charisma" as the autodidact arrested for poaching rare orchids.
    The same year, Streep co-hosted the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert concert with Liam Neeson which was held in Oslo, Norway, on December 11, 2001, in honour of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the United Nations and Kofi Annan.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1999
    Age 49
    In 1999, Streep portrayed Roberta Guaspari, a real-life New Yorker who found passion and enlightenment teaching violin to the inner-city kids of East Harlem, in the music drama Music of the Heart.
    More Details Hide Details A departure from director Wes Craven's previous work on films like A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Scream series, Streep replaced singer Madonna who left the project before filming began due to creative differences with Craven. Required to perform on the violin, Streep went through two months of intense training, five to six hours a day. Streep received nominations for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance. Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four and wrote that "Meryl Streep is known for her mastery of accents; she may be the most versatile speaker in the movies. Here you might think she has no accent, unless you've heard her real speaking voice; then you realize that Guaspari's speaking style is no less a particular achievement than Streep's other accents. This is not Streep's voice, but someone else's – with a certain flat quality, as if later education and refinement came after a somewhat unsophisticated childhood."
  • 1998
    Age 48
    In 1998, Streep played an Irishwoman opposite Michael Gambon and Catherine McCormack in Pat O'Connor's Dancing at Lughnasa, which was entered into the Venice Film Festival of 1998.
    More Details Hide Details Janet Maslin of The New York Times remarked that "Meryl Streep has made many a grand acting gesture in her career, but the way she simply peers out a window in Dancing at Lughnasa ranks with the best. Everything the viewer need know about Kate Mundy, the woman she plays here, is written on that prim, lonely face and its flabbergasted gaze". Later that year, Streep played a cancer sufferer caught in a difficult family situation, playing the mother of Renée Zellweger and wife of William Hurt in One True Thing. The film was well received by critics. Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle declared, "After 'One True Thing', critics who persist in the fiction that Streep is a cold and technical actress will need to get their heads examined. She is so instinctive and natural – so thoroughly in the moment and operating on flights of inspiration – that she's able to give us a woman who's at once wildly idiosyncratic and utterly believable." Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan noted that Streep's role "is one of the least self-consciously dramatic and surface showy of her career, but that she "adds a level of honesty and reality that makes performance one of her most moving."
  • 1996
    Age 46
    In 1996, Streep played the estranged sister of Bessie (Diane Keaton), a woman battling leukemia, in Marvin's Room, an adaptation of the play by Scott McPherson.
    More Details Hide Details Streep recommended Keaton for the role. The film also starred a young Leonardo DiCaprio as Streep's character's rebellious son. Roger Ebert stated that "Streep and Keaton, in their different styles, find ways to make Lee and Bessie into much more than the expression of their problems." The film was critically acclaimed, and Streep earned another Golden Globe nomination for her performance.
  • 1995
    Age 45
    Streep's most successful film of the decade came in the 1995 romance The Bridges of Madison County from director Clint Eastwood, who adapted the film from Robert James Waller's novel of the same name.
    More Details Hide Details It relates the story of Robert Kincaid (Eastwood), a photographer working for National Geographic, who has a love affair with a middle-aged Italian farm wife in Iowa named Francesca (Streep). Though Streep disliked the novel it was based on, she found the script to be a special opportunity for an actress her age. She gained weight for the part, and dressed differently from the character in the book to emulate voluptuous Italian film stars such as Sophia Loren. Both Loren and Anna Magnani were an influence in her portrayal, and Streep viewed Pier Paolo Passolini's Mamma Roma (1962) prior to filming. The film was a box office hit and grossed over $70 million in the United States. The film, unlike the novel, was warmly received by critics. Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that Eastwood had managed to create "a moving, elegiac love story at the heart of Mr. Waller's self-congratulatory overkill", while Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal described it as "one of the most pleasurable films in recent memory". Longworth believes that Streep's performance was "crucial to transforming what could have been a weak soap opera into a vibrant work of historical fiction implicitly critiquing postwar America's stifling culture of domesticity". She considers it to have been the role in which Streep became "arguably the first middle-aged actress to be taken seriously by Hollywood as a romantic heroine".
  • 1993
    Age 43
    In 1993, Streep appeared with Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close and Winona Ryder in The House of the Spirits, set during the military dictatorship of Chile.
    More Details Hide Details The film was not well received by critics. Anthony Lane of The New Yorker wrote: "This is really quite an achievement. It brings together Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Winona Ryder, Antonio Banderas, and Vanessa Redgrave and insures that, without exception, they all give their worst performances ever". The following year, Streep featured in The River Wild, as the mother of children on a whitewater rafting trip who encounter two violent criminals (Kevin Bacon and John C. Reilly) in the wilderness. Though critical reaction was generally mixed, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone found her to be "strong, sassy and looser than she has ever been onscreen".
  • 1990
    Age 40
    At the Screen Actor's Guild National Women's Conference in 1990, Streep keynoted the first national event, emphasizing the decline in women's work opportunities, pay parity, and role models within the film industry.
    More Details Hide Details She criticized the film industry for downplaying the importance of women both on screen and off. After roles in the comedy-drama Postcards from the Edge (1990) and the comedy-fantasy Defending Your Life (1991), Streep starred with Goldie Hawn in farcical black comedy, Death Becomes Her (1992), with Bruce Willis as their co-star. Streep persuaded writer David Koepp to rewrite several of the scenes, particularly the one in which her character has an affair with a younger man, which she believed was "unrealistically male" in its conception. The seven-month shoot was the longest of Streep's career, during which she got into character by "thinking about being slightly pissed off all of the time". Due to Streep's allergies to numerous cosmetics, special prosthetics had to be designed to age her by ten years to look 54, although Streep believed that they made her look nearer 70. Longworth considers Death Becomes Her to have been "the most physical performance Streep had yet committed to screen, all broad weeping, smirking, and eye-rolling". Although it was a commercial success, earning $15.1 million in just five days, Streep's contribution to comedy was generally not taken well by critics. Times Richard Corliss wrote approvingly of Streep's "wicked-witch routine" but dismissed the film as "She-Devil with a make-over" and one which "hates women".
  • THIRTIES
  • 1989
    Age 39
    In 1989, Streep lobbied to play the lead role in Oliver Stone's adaption of the play Evita, but two months before filming was due to commence she dropped out, citing "exhaustion" initially, although it was later revealed that there was a dispute over her salary.
    More Details Hide Details By the end of the decade, Streep actively looked to star in a comedy. She found the role in She-Devil (1989), a satire that parodied Hollywood's obsession with beauty and cosmetic surgery, in which she played a glamorous writer. Though not a success, Richard Corliss of Time wrote that Streep was the "one reason" to see the film and observed that it marked a departure from the dramatic roles she was known to play. Reacting to her string of poorly received films, Streep said: "Audiences are shrinking; as the marketing strategy defines more and more narrowly who they want to reach—males from 16 to 25—it's become a chicken-and-egg syndrome. Which came first? First they release all these summer movies, then do a demographic survey of who's going to see them". Biographer Karen Hollinger described the early 1990s as a downturn in the popularity of Streep's films, attributing this partly to a critical perception that her comedies had been an attempt to convey a lighter image following several serious but commercially unsuccessful dramas, and more significantly to the lack of options available to an actress in her forties. Streep commented that she had limited her options by her preference to work in Los Angeles, close to her family, a situation that she had anticipated in a 1981 interview when she commented, "By the time an actress hits her mid-forties, no one's interested in her anymore. And if you want to fit a couple of babies into that schedule as well, you've got to pick your parts with great care."
  • 1983
    Age 33
    The year 1983 saw Streep play her first non-fictional character, the nuclear whistleblower and labor union activist Karen Silkwood who died in a suspicious car accident while investigating alleged wrongdoing at the Kerr-McGee plutonium plant, in Mike Nichols's biographical film Silkwood.
    More Details Hide Details Streep felt a personal connection to Silkwood, and in preparation she met with people close to the woman, and in doing so realized that each person saw a different aspect of her personality. She said, "I didn't try to turn myself into Karen. I just tried to look at what she did. I put together every piece of information I could find about her... What I finally did was look at the events in her life, and try to understand her from the inside." Jack Kroll of Newsweek considered Streep's characterization to have been "brilliant", while Silkwood's boyfriend Drew Stephens expressed approval in that Streep had played Karen as a human being rather than a myth, despite Karen's father Bill thinking that Streep and the film had dumbed his daughter down. Pauline Kael believed that Streep had been miscast. Streep next played opposite Robert De Niro in the romance Falling in Love (1984), which was poorly-received, and portrayed a fighter for the French Resistance during World War II in the British drama Plenty (1985). For the latter, Roger Ebert wrote that she conveyed "great subtlety; it is hard to play an unbalanced, neurotic, self-destructive woman, and do it with such gentleness and charm... Streep creates a whole character around a woman who could have simply been a catalogue of symptoms." In 2008, Molly Haskell praised Streep's performance in Plenty, believing it to be "one of Streep's most difficult and ambiguous" films and "most feminist" role.
  • 1982
    Age 32
    Greater success came later in 1982, when Streep starred in the drama Sophie's Choice (1982), portraying a Polish holocaust survivor caught in a love triangle between a young naive writer (Peter MacNicol) and a Jewish intellectual (Kevin Kline).
    More Details Hide Details Streep's emotional dramatic performance and her apparent mastery of a Polish accent drew praise. William Styron wrote the novel with Ursula Andress in mind for the role of Sophie, but Streep was determined to get the role. Streep filmed the "choice" scene in one take and refused to do it again, finding it extremely painful and emotionally exhausting. Emma Brockes of The Guardian believes the scene in which Streep is ordered by an SS guard at Auschwitz to choose which one of her two children would be gassed and which would proceed to the labor camp, is her most famous scene, remarking: "It's classic Streep, the kind of scene that makes your scalp tighten, but defter in a way is her handling of smaller, harder-to-grasp emotions". Among several notable acting awards, Streep won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance, and her characterization was voted the third greatest movie performance of all time by Premiere magazine. Roger Ebert said of her delivery, "Streep plays the Brooklyn scenes with an enchanting Polish-American accent (she has the first accent I've ever wanted to hug), and she plays the flashbacks in subtitled German and Polish. There is hardly an emotion that Streep doesn't touch in this movie, and yet we're never aware of her straining. This is one of the most astonishing and yet one of the most unaffected and natural performances I can imagine." Pauline Kael on the contrary called the film an "infuriatingly bad movie" and thought that Streep "decorporealizes" herself, which she believed explained why her movie heroines "don't seem to be full characters, and why there are no incidental joys to be had from watching her".
  • 1980
    Age 30
    By 1980, Streep had progressed to leading roles in films.
    More Details Hide Details She was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine with the headline "A Star for the 80s", with Jack Kroll commenting, "There's a sense of mystery in her acting; she doesn't simply imitate (although she's a great mimic in private). She transmits a sense of danger, a primal unease lying just below the surface of normal behavior". Streep denounced the fervent media coverage of her at this time as "excessive hype". The story within a story drama The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) was Streep's first leading role. The film paired Streep with Jeremy Irons as contemporary actors, telling their modern story, as well as the Victorian era drama they were performing. Streep perfected an English accent for the part, but considered herself a misfit for the role: " I couldn't help wishing that I was more beautiful". A New York Magazine article commented that, while many female stars of the past had cultivated a singular identity in their films, Streep was a "chameleon", willing to play any type of role. Streep was awarded a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work. The following year, she reunited with Robert Benton for the psychological thriller, Still of the Night (1982), co-starring Roy Scheider and Jessica Tandy. Vincent Canby, writing for The New York Times, noted that the film was an homage to the works of Alfred Hitchcock, but that one of its main weaknesses was a lack of chemistry between Streep and Scheider, concluding that Streep "is stunning, but she's not on screen anywhere near long enough".
  • TWENTIES
  • 1979
    Age 29
    In 1979, Streep began workshopping Alice in Concert, a musical version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, with writer and composer Elizabeth Swados and director Joseph Papp; the show was put on at New York's Public Theater from December 1980.
    More Details Hide Details Frank Rich of The New York Times referred to Streep as the "one wonder" of the production, but questioned why she had devoted so much energy to it.
    For Kramer vs. Kramer, Streep won both the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Academy Award, which she famously left in the ladies room after giving her speech. She was also awarded the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress, National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress and National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for her collective work in her three film releases of 1979.
    More Details Hide Details Both The Deer Hunter and Kramer vs. Kramer were major commercial successes and were the consecutive winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • 1978
    Age 28
    Upon her return, Streep found that Cazale's illness had progressed, and she nursed him until his death on March 12, 1978.
    More Details Hide Details With an estimated audience of 109 million, Holocaust brought a wider degree of public recognition to Streep, who found herself "on the verge of national visibility". She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her performance. Despite the awards success, Streep was still not enthusiastic towards her film career and preferred acting on stage. Hoping to divert herself from the grief of Cazale's death, Streep accepted a role in The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979) as the chirpy love interest of Alan Alda, later commenting that she played it on "automatic pilot". She performed the role of Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew for Shakespeare in the Park, and also played a supporting role in Manhattan (1979) for Woody Allen. Streep later said that Allen did not provide her with a complete script, giving her only the six pages of her own scenes, and did not permit her to improvise a word of her dialogue. In the drama Kramer vs. Kramer, Streep was cast opposite Dustin Hoffman as an unhappily married woman who abandons her husband and child. Streep thought that the script portrayed the female character as "too evil" and insisted that it was not representative of real women who faced marriage breakdown and child custody battles. The makers agreed with her, and the script was revised. In preparing for the part, Streep spoke to her own mother about her life as a wife with a career, and frequented the Upper East Side neighborhood in which the film was set, watching the interactions between parents and children.
    In the 1978 miniseries Holocaust, Streep played the leading role of a German woman married to a Jewish artist in Nazi era Germany.
    More Details Hide Details She found the material to be "unrelentingly noble" and professed to have taken on the role for financial gain. Streep travelled to Germany and Austria for filming while Cazale remained in New York.
  • 1977
    Age 27
    Streep's first feature film role came opposite Jane Fonda in the 1977 film Julia, in which she had a small role during a flashback sequence.
    More Details Hide Details Most of her scenes were edited out, but the brief time on screen horrified the actress: "I had a bad wig and they took the words from the scene I shot with Jane and put them in my mouth in a different scene. I thought, I've made a terrible mistake, no more movies. I hate this business". However, Streep cites Fonda as having a lasting influence on her as an actress, and has credited her as "opening probably more doors than I probably even know about". Robert De Niro, who had spotted Streep in her stage production of The Cherry Orchard, suggested that she play the role of his girlfriend in the war film The Deer Hunter (1978). Cazale, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer, was also cast in the film, and Streep took on the role of a "vague, stock girlfriend" to remain with Cazale for the duration of filming. Longworth notes that Streep "made a case for female empowerment by playing a woman to whom empowerment was a foreign concept—a normal lady from an average American small town, for whom subservience was the only thing she knew". Pauline Kael, who would later become a strong critic of Streep's, remarked that Streep was a "real beauty" who brought much freshness to the film with her performance. The film's success exposed Streep to a wider audience and earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
    She made her screen debut in the 1977 television film The Deadliest Season, and made her film debut later that same year in Julia.
    More Details Hide Details In 1978, she won an Emmy Award for her role in the miniseries Holocaust, and received her first Academy Award nomination for The Deer Hunter. Nominated for 19 Academy Awards in total, Streep has more nominations than any other actor or actress; she won Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), and Best Actress for Sophie's Choice (1982) and for The Iron Lady (2011). Streep is one of the six actors to have won three or more competitive Academy Awards for acting. Her other nominated roles are The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), Silkwood (1983), Out of Africa (1985), Ironweed (1987), Evil Angels (1988), Postcards from the Edge (1990), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), One True Thing (1998), Music of the Heart (1999), Adaptation (2002), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Doubt (2008), Julie & Julia (2009), August: Osage County (2013), and Into the Woods (2014). She returned to the stage for the first time in over 20 years in The Public Theater's 2001 revival of The Seagull, won a second Emmy Award in 2004 for the HBO miniseries Angels in America (2003), and starred in the Public Theater's 2006 production of Mother Courage and Her Children.
  • 1976
    Age 26
    She continued to work on Broadway, appearing in the 1976 double bill of Tennessee Williams' 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Arthur Miller's A Memory of Two Mondays.
    More Details Hide Details For the former, she received a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play nomination. Streep's other Broadway credits include Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard and the Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill musical Happy End, in which she had originally appeared off-Broadway at the Chelsea Theater Center. She received Drama Desk Award nominations for both productions.
  • 1975
    Age 25
    Streep moved to New York City in 1975, and was cast by Joseph Papp in a production of Trelawny of the Wells at the Public Theater, opposite Mandy Patinkin and John Lithgow.
    More Details Hide Details She went on to appear in five more roles in her first year in New York, including in Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival productions of Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew with Raúl Juliá, and Measure for Measure opposite Sam Waterston and John Cazale. She entered into a relationship with Cazale at this time, and resided with him until his death three years later. She starred in the musical Happy End on Broadway, and won an Obie for her performance in the off-Broadway play Alice at the Palace. Although she had not set out for a film career, Robert De Niro's performance in Taxi Driver (1976) had a profound impact on young Streep, who said to herself, "that's the kind of actor I want to be when I grow up". Streep began auditioning for film roles, and underwent an unsuccessful audition for the lead role in Dino De Laurentiis's King Kong. Laurentiis stated in Italian to his son: "This is so ugly. Why did you bring me this". Unknown to Laurentiis, Streep understood Italian and she remarked, "I'm very sorry that I'm not as beautiful as I should be but, you know—this is it. This is what you get".
    She received her MFA from Yale in 1975.
    More Details Hide Details Streep also enrolled as a visiting student at Dartmouth College in the fall of 1970, and received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the college in 1981.
  • 1971
    Age 21
    She received her BA cum laude from the college in 1971, before applying for an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
    More Details Hide Details At Yale she supplemented her course fees by waitressing and typing, and appeared in over a dozen stage productions a year, to the point that she became overworked, developing ulcers. She contemplated quitting acting and switching to study law. Streep played a variety of roles onstage, from Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream to an 80-year-old woman in a wheelchair in a comedy written by then-unknown playwrights Christopher Durang and Albert Innaurato. One of her teachers was Robert Lewis, one of the co-founders of the Actors Studio. Streep disapproved of some of the acting exercises she was asked to do, remarking that the professors "delved into personal lives in a way I find obnoxious".
    She made her professional stage debut in The Playboy of Seville in 1971, and went on to receive a 1976 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play for A Memory of Two Mondays/27 Wagons Full of Cotton.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TEENAGE
  • 1969
    Age 19
    Although in high school Streep appeared in numerous school plays, she was uninterested in serious theatre until acting in the play Miss Julie at Vassar College in 1969, in which she gained attention across the campus.
    More Details Hide Details Vassar drama professor Clinton J Atkinson noted, "I don't think anyone ever taught Meryl acting. She really taught herself". Streep demonstrated an early ability to mimic accents and to quickly memorize her lines.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1949
    Born
    Mary Louise Streep was born on June 22, 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, to Mary Wolf Wilkinson (1915–2001), a commercial artist and art editor; and Harry William Streep Jr. (1910–2003), a pharmaceutical executive.
    More Details Hide Details The eldest child, she has two younger brothers, Dana David and Harry William III. Streep's father was of German and Swiss ancestry. Her father's lineage traces back to Loffenau, Germany, from where her second great-grandfather, Gottfried Streeb, immigrated to the United States, and where one of her ancestors served as mayor (the surname was later changed to "Streep"). Another line of her father's family was from Giswil, Switzerland. Her mother had English, German, and Irish ancestry. Some of Streep's maternal ancestors lived in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island and were descended from 17th-century immigrants from England. Her eighth great-grandfather, Lawrence Wilkinson, was one of the first Europeans to settle in Rhode Island. Streep is also a distant relative of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania; records show that her family is among the first purchasers of land in the state. Streep's maternal great-great-grandparents, Manus McFadden and Grace Strain, the namesake of Streep's second daughter, were natives of the Horn Head district of Dunfanaghy, Ireland.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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