Thatcher of Tinseltown

Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy winning actress, she represents the essence of onscreen dramatic art. 

Known for being a perfectionist when preparing for roles, she also has the ability to master almost any accent.

She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2010 and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Childhood

Meryl Streep was born Mary Louise Streep on June 22, 1949 in New Jersey, US. She was raised with two younger brothers.

Young Streep completed her formal education from Bernards High School. Thereafter, she enrolled at the Vassar College from where she obtained a BA in Drama.

She then went on to receive her MFA degree from Yale School of Drama. It was during her years at Yale that Streep made her debut at the stage, acting in a number of plays.

Career

Streep began her career on the New York stage in the late 1960s and appeared in several Broadway productions, including a 1977 revival of the drama ‘The Cherry Orchard’.

Streep broke into films in the 1970s with a role in the drama Julia (1977). The next year she appeared in ‘The Deer Hunter’, for which she earned her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. That same year, she won her first Primetime Emmy for her role in the film ‘Holocaust’.

‘Chameleon’

A chameleon on screen, Streep spent much of the 1980s submerged in a variety of roles. In ‘Sophie’s Choice’ (1982), she convincingly played a Polish woman traumatized by her experiences during the Holocaust. In ‘Out of Africa’ (1985), she took on the role of a Danish plantation owner living in Kenya. The role earned her another Academy Award nomination.

Come the 90’s, Streep continued to find challenging roles. She received Academy Award nominations for her work in several films, including two big-screen adaptations- ‘Postcards from the Edge’ (1990) and ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ (1995).

By the start of the new millennium, Streep was as busy as ever as she appeared in two critically acclaimed films in 2002 – ‘The Hours’ and ‘Adaptation’.

The following year, she lit up the small screen in the television adaptation of the award-winning play ‘Angels in America’. She won her second Emmy Award for her work on the program, which had her tackling several roles.

Streep got a chance to show some of her comic skills as a villain in the political thriller The Manchurian Candidate (2004). Continuing to explore light-hearted fare, she starred in Prime (2005), a romantic comedy.

She then gave a phenomenal performance in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ for which she earned Academy Award, SAG and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress.

In 2011, Streep received widespread acclaim for her work in The Iron Lady. Her thoughtful and nuanced performance as Thatcher garnered her several awards, including a Golden Globe.

The following year Streep starred in the volatile family drama August: Osage County, earning yet another Oscar nomination, and 2014 saw the actress taking the lead in the dystopic sci-fi film ‘The Giver’.

Streep is well known for her ability to imitate a wide range of accents, from Danish in ‘Out of Africa’ (1985) to English received pronunciation in ‘Plenty’ (1985), ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ (1981), and ‘The Iron Lady’ (2011), ‘Italian in The Bridges of Madison County’ (1995).

 After ‘A Cry in the Dark’ (1988), critics were impressed with her ability to master an Australian accent with shades of New Zealand English.

Awards

Streep was recognized with multiple awards and nominations for her work in film, television, and music. She holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations of any actor, having been nominated 20 times.

She has also received 29 Golden Globe nominations, winning eight.

Her work has also earned her two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Cannes Film Festival award, five New York Film Critics Circle Awards, two BAFTA awards, two Australian Film Institute awards, five Grammy Award nominations, and five Drama Desk Award nominations, among several others. 

Philanthropy

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.

She donated $1 million to The Public Theater in honor of its late founder Joseph Papp.

Personal Life

Streep lived with actor John Cazale for three years until his death in March 1978.

She then married sculptor Don Gummer six months after Cazale’s death. They have four children: musician Henry actresses Mamie and Grace and model Louisa.

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