“Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.” – Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep is considered to be one of the most talented and beloved actresses in the world. A member of the Baby-Boomer generation, she has been the quintessential Hollywood dame for nearly 35 years since she first gained prominence in 1978. She is known for her incredible versatility, ability to immerse herself into roles, and great mastery of difficult accents. Many of her iconic roles, such as Linda in the Vietnam War movie The Deer Hunter, express the attitudes and trials of her Boomer generation, who matured into adulthood watching her films.
On June 22, 1949, Meryl Streep (née Mary Louise Streep) was born in Summit, New Jersey. Her mother was a commercial artist and her father was a pharmaceutical executive. Streep was raised in Bernardsville, NJ, along with her two brothers. She attended Bernards High School, where she was a cheerleader, choir and drama club member, and was even voted Homecoming Queen senior year. Streep went on to receive her B.A. in Drama from Vassar College in 1971 and her M.F.A. at the Yale School of Drama.
During the early 1970s, Meryl Streep acted predominantly in theater, performing standard Shakespearean repertory and starring on Broadway. Her first film debut was in the movie Julia (1977), which she played a small, but important role. In 1978, she landed a supporting role in The Deer Hunter and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. During this time, she also met and married sculptor Don Gummer. They are still married and have four children together.
In 1979, Streep won her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the movie Kramer vs. Kramer, where she played opposite Dustin Hoffman. Streep was again nominated for an Oscar for her role opposite Jeremy Irons in the French Lieutenant’s Woman in 1981. The following year, she wins another Oscar, this time for Best Actress, for her emotional role in the holocaust movie Sophie’s Choice, a movie that required Streep to speak in German, Polish, and also perfect a Polish-American accent. Continuing steadily in her work, Streep has had a very prolific career starring in such iconic films as: Out of Africa (1985), The River Wild (1994), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), One True Thing (1998), Adaptation (2002), Angels in America (2003), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Doubt (2008), Julie & Julia (2009), and The Iron Lady (2011).
Streep won her 3rd Oscar in 2011 for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, making her one of only six actors in film history to win three Oscars. Over the course of her career, Streep has been nominated for 17 Academy Awards and holds the record for the highest number of nominations for any actor. Including other awards, such as BAFTA, Emmy, and Tony Awards, Streep has won 112 total and been nominated 215 times. She has honorary Doctorate degrees from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and won the Life Achievement Award in 2004 from the American Film Institute. In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded her the National Medal for the Arts. At age 64, Streep still has very active career, which is unique for women over 60. She is set to appear in two films in 2013 and a production of Into the Woods in 2014.