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  • Meryl Streep

    22 June 1949
    Summit, New Jersey

          There is perhaps no greater actress in film today than the enchanting Meryl Streep. A master of her craft, she can move from gripping drama to witty comedy with remarkable grace, elevating any role she plays to new heights of excellence.
          She was born Mary Louise Streep to loving parents Harry Jr. and Mary and grew up with two younger brothers, Dana and Harry III in suburban New Jersey. She pursued acting with a passion from a very young age, reading plays in her spare time. She attended Vassar College in New York where she earned a B.A. in English Literature and Drama. She continued her education at the Yale School of Drama and earned her M.F.A in the profession that would soon bring her international fame and honor.
          She began working in stage productions in and around New York and made her big-screen debut in a film called Julia, followed shortly thereafter by a role in The Deer Hunter, which earned her her first Oscar nomination.
          After her lover, John Cazale, died of bone cancer in 1978, Streep made the following year one to remember. Starring in three critically-acclaimed roles (The Seduction of Joe Tyan, Manhattan and Kramer vs. Kramer) she quickly rose to the top of her profession, receiving the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Kramer vs. Kramer. She was also married that year to her husband, Donald Gummer, a renowned sculptor.
          More critical success came in the early 80s with her performance in The French Lieutenant's Woman, co-starring Jeremy Irons. But it was her stunning portrayal of a Polish immigrant who survived the horrors of the Holocaust that won her the Oscar for Best Actress in Sophie's Choice and solidified her position as Hollywood's most-respected leading lady.
          The remarkable performances continued with films like Silkwood, Out of Africa and A Cry in the Dark, displaying her ability to grasp any theatrical idiom with remarkable insight, as well as her facility with foreign accents.
          The late 80s took Streep in the direction of odd-ball comedies like Death Becomes Her, She-Devil and Postcards From The Edge. She floundered in the early 90s with less successful films such as House of the Spirits and the action-adventure flick River Wild. Much more pleasing were her roles as the neglected housewife in Clint Eastwood's adaptation of The Bridges of Madison County and the blue-collar mom in Marvin's Room, tending to her dying and estranged sister, played by Diane Keaton.
          A heart-rending performance as a mother dying of cancer in One True Thing, co-starring John Hurt, won rave reviews, as did her portrayal of a repressed schoolmarm in the Irish drama Dancing at Lughnasa. In Music of the Heart she plays a dedicated music teacher who brings new hope to an inner-city elementary school and in The Hours she plays a literary editor who must come to terms with her past and nurse a former lover through the last stages of his battle with AIDS.
          Streep is also a formidable activist, working as an environmentalist and a promoter of literacy. She has four children and lives in rural New York State with her family.
          With two Oscars to her credit, and 10 other Academy Award nominations to date, she is tied with Katharine Hepburn as the most-nominated female movie star in history and has achieved world-wide acclaim as an actress with unparalleled talent.
    Photo © Firooz Zahedi

    Bio written by Andrew Ritchie © 2002 - [please let us know of any errors]

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    [TV]=Guest starred [STV]=Starred [VM]=Video movie [VC]=Voice [N]=Narrator [MV]=Music video

    FILM/TV CREDITS

    - Angels in America (2003)
    - The Hours (2002)
    Official site: Click here! - [report]
    - Adaptation (2002)
    - AI (2001)
    - Music of the Heart (1999)
    - One True Thing (1998)
    - Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)
    - First Do No Harm (1997) [TV]
    - Marvin's Room (1996)
    - Before and After (1996)
    - Bridges of Madison County (1995)
    - The River Wild (1994)
    - The House of the Spirits (1993)
    - Death Becomes Her (1992)
    - Defending Your Life (1991)
    - Postcards from the Edge (1990)
    - The Fisherman and His Wife (1989) [V]
    - She-Devil (1989)
    - Ironweed (1988)
    - A Cry in the Dark (1988)
    - Heartburn (1986)
    - Out of Africa (1985)
    - Plenty (1985)
    - The Velveteen Rabbit (1984) [V]
    - Falling in Love (1984)
    - Silkwood (1983)
    - Still of the Night (1982)
    - Sophie's Choice (1982)
    - Alice at the Palace (1981) [TV]
    - French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)
    - Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979)
    - Uncommon Women...and Others (1979) [TV]
    - Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
    - Manhattan (1979)
    - The Deer Hunter (1978)
    - Holocaust (1978) [TV]
    - Julia (1977)
    - The Deadliest Season (1977) [TV]
    - Secret Service (1977) [TV]

    PRODUCING CREDITS

    - First Do No Harm (1997) [TV]

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