Skip to content

Meryl Streep, the Iconic Hollywood Actress

Full Name Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep
Birthday June 22, 1949 (age 73)
Birthplace Summit, New Jersey, United States
Height 5‘ 6" (1.68 m)
Spouse Don Gummer (m. 1978)
Children 4 (including actresses Mamie and Grace Gummer)
Net Worth $160M
Social Media Instagram, Facebook

Meryl Streep is a renowned American actress, known for her versatility, masterful accents, and her ability to fully immerse herself in every role she plays. Often described as the "best actress of her generation", Streep holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations of any actor in history. Her brilliance has enriched cinema for over four decades.

Her Early Life and Formative Experiences

Streep was born as Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey to a well-educated family. As a child, she took opera lessons and was a gifted vocalist. Streep first fell in love with acting in high school where she played leading roles in several productions.

In describing her childhood, Streep shared: "I was playing solo concerts at age six—six!" Her opera training and musical skill at a young age laid the foundation for her mastery of accents and vocal acting.

After graduating high school as an honor student, Streep attended Vassar College where she continued to perform in plays. She then studied drama at Yale University for her graduate education. Streep spent several years honing her craft on the New York stage before making her film debut.

Her Breakthrough Roles and Oscar Achievements

After early success in television movies, Streep rose to fame playing uncompromising roles in acclaimed films like The Deer Hunter (1978), for which she received her first Oscar nomination. However, it was her gripping performance in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) that won Streep her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Over the next decade, Streep would go on to set new records, receiving an astounding 5 Academy Award nominations in just 4 years. Her portrayal of a Polish concentration camp survivor in Sophie‘s Choice (1982) earned her another Oscar for Best Actress. She also showed her versatility with outstanding performances in hits like Silkwood (1983) and Out of Africa (1985).

Streep continued headlining major films into the 1990s like The Bridges of Madison County (1995). She also took on a variety of real-life roles, from a Danish baroness in Out of Africa to chef Julia Child in Julie & Julia (2009). She earned her third Oscar for playing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 2011‘s The Iron Lady.

Today, Streep holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations by any actor in history, with an incredible 21 nominations over the decades. She has also won 8 Golden Globes and 3 Primetime Emmy Awards.

Her Unparalleled Dedication to Her Roles

What makes Meryl Streep‘s performances so compelling is her total dedication to every aspect of her characters. Before filming Sophie‘s Choice, Streep studied Polish for months in order to perfect the Polish accent of her character.

For The French Lieutenant‘s Woman, Streep actually learned French and took up smoking to authentically portray the mysterious Sarah. To play the legendary chef Julia Child in Julie & Julia, Streep went through cooking training until she could flawlessly mimic Child‘s cooking techniques and infectious enthusiasm.

Streep also spends significant time researching her real-life characters, often meeting them in person. For The Iron Lady, she underwent hours of makeup and prosthetics to transform into Margaret Thatcher.

Her Distinctive Acting Style and Longevity

Unlike many actresses, Meryl Streep‘s star power and demand has not faded as she aged. In fact, her legendary status has only grown over the decades.

Streep‘s acting style is marked by total emotional immersion in her roles. She inhibits her characters both physically and mentally, often remaining in accent even when the cameras aren‘t rolling. The sheer intensity Streep brings to her performances has become her trademark.

Now in her 70s, Streep continues to play multifaceted lead roles in major films, setting herself apart from actresses who struggle to find good roles as they age. Her recent award-nominated performances in hits like The Post (2017) and Little Women (2019) demonstrate her enduring power and appeal.

Interesting Facts About Meryl Streep

  • Her high school cheerleading nickname was "Meryl the Squirrel" due to her wild spirit.
  • She can speak English, French, German and Italian fluently. She learned Polish for Sophie‘s Choice.
  • Streep passed on the lead roles in King Kong (1976), Body Heat (1981), and Fatal Attraction (1987).
  • She forgot her Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) in a toilet after giving her speech.
  • Streep is the first actor to win 3 Oscars for acting since Katharine Hepburn.
  • In 2014, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor.

Meryl Streep‘s Legacy as an Actress

Meryl Streep‘s brilliance, courage, and one-of-a-kind talent have made her a defining actress of our time. She has portrayed a vast range of characters over her decades-long career, continually surprising audiences with the depth of her performances.

With unrivaled command of accents, meticulous research, and incredible on-screen magnetism, Streep transforms fully into each role she plays. Her name attached to a film provides a stamp of quality and artistry that few other stars can match.

Streep‘s lifetime of acclaimed roles have made her an American icon, inspiring generations of performers. Audiences for years to come will continue to be moved by Meryl Streep‘s acting mastery and her unwavering dedication to her craft.