Biography of Meryl StreepMeryl Streep is the greatest American movie actress of our time, the winner of the Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy, MTV, César. She has her own star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Early yearsMeryl (Mary Louise) Streep was born in the small American town of Summit (New Jersey) on June 22, 1949. Her father, Harry Streep, who was the manager of a pharmaceutical company at that time, worked hard taking care of the well-being of the family. Mother, Mary Wolf, was an artist, but she had to leave this occupation since three little children ‒ Meryl and her two brothers Harry and Dan need constant attention.
Aptitude for singing was manifested in Meryl very early, and the teachers at Bernard’s school, where the girl was studying, strongly recommended parents to develop her vocal makings. For several years Meryl had lessons from a teacher intending to become an opera singer, but nothing came of it.
After high school, her parents sent the daughter to the prestigious Vassar College ‒ and it was there that she learned about her true destiny. Once the teacher of dramatic art, Clinton Atkinson asked her to perform the monologue of Blanche DuBois («A Streetcar Named Desire « by Tennessee Williams) at the student evening. This was a formal offer because no one noticed a special bent for acting in the girl. But when Meryl began her speech, the hall froze. It was impossible to believe that this student had never studied even the basics of drama ‒ everyone saw before them a full-fledged actress.
Since then, Meryl participated in all the performances that students of the college staged. In one of these productions, she was seen by Robert Brustein, the dean of the Department of Drama at Yale University, who also pluralized as the director of the Yale Repertory Theater. Being shocked by the play of the young girl, he not only invited Meryl to the troupe of his theater, but also recommended her to be admitted to the School of Drama at the University, and in addition to a full scholarship.
By the end of the studying at the university over 40 leading roles lay behind the future star that was played in the widest age range of the most diverse plays ‒ by Chekhov, Shakespeare, Strindberg, Shaw.
Naturally, the resolute and persistent Meryl had no doubts about where exactly it was necessary to begin creating her artistic career: of course, in New York. And in 1975, after receiving a master’s degree, a novice actress went to conquer Broadway.
Meryl Streep's most embarrassing Golden Globe win
Acting careerThe debut of yesterday’s student took place in 1975, in Joseph Papp’s theater, where her brilliant talent was highly appreciated. The young actress was brought into the cast of actors who played in the play «27 Wagons Full of Cotton» by Tennessee Williams, and for participation in this performance, she received Tony Award nomination ‒ honorable theater award.
Meryl also regularly participated in the annual New York Shakespeare Festival, impressing audience and critics with a virtuosic play in «The Taming of the Shrew» or in «Henry V».
Meryl made a debut on the screen in 1977 playing in the full-length film called «Julia» (directed by Fred Zinnemann), where she got a small role. The film received three Oscars, about which critics wrote in all newspapers, not noticing the young actress for some reason. But the film directors noticed her and soon Streep already got an opportunity to consider the first offer: Michael Cimino, who had begun shooting the military drama «The Deer Hunter», wanted to see only Meryl as Linda.
Participation in the film was very hard for the girl: one of the stars of the film, John Cazale, her fiance, was dying of cancer. She did her best, trying to play her character Anne Marie as well as possible simultaneously taking care of the weakening John. Cimino himself later said that it was Meryl who saved the film with her dedication.
The drama «The Deer Hunter» (1978) won 5 Oscars, and Streep, who became the nominee of both this award and another one ‒ Golden Globe, instantly turned into a celebrity.
Trailer of the film «The Deer Hunter» with the participation of Meryl Streep
In America, the era of Meryl Streep began. Shooting in the series «Holocaust» (1978, Inga Helms Weiss) brought her the first victory: the actress was awarded the Emmy Award for Best Actress.
The year 1979 was also generous for significant roles. The young actress, sparkling with all the facets of her talent, brilliantly played in the comedy of great Woody Allen «Manhattan», which in itself was luck, but in addition to it, Meryl was nominated for the British Academy Film Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. And the shooting in Robert Banton’s drama «Kramer vs. Kramer» (Joanna Kramer) ended in triumph: in addition to the Golden Globe, she won the first in her life statuette of the long-awaited Oscar.
The film «The French Lieutenant’s Woman « (1981) that was shown at the world cinema screens was a great success. The perfectly played part of Sara/Anna was crowned with deserved awards ‒ the British Academy Film Awards and the Golden Globe.
In 1982, the actress starred in the role of Sophie Zawistowski in the film of the wonderful director Alan Pakula «Sophie’s Choice». Meryl so deeply got the feel of the part of a poor woman who had experienced the whole horror of fascism that subsequently could not force herself to watch this film. The high tragedy of Sophie’s part attracted wide attention of the press and public to the movie and the actress was awarded the second Oscar and the third Golden Globe.
Throughout the 80’s Meryl was still under the light of Jupiters on the sets, during solemn ceremonies ‒ under the light of spotlights on the podium, where she was presented one award after another.
Under the same abundant star shower of nominations, the actress continued her acting career in the 90s too. A real breakthrough in the career was the participation in the musicals called «Postcards from the Edge» (1990, Suzanne Vale) and «Death Becomes Her» (1992, Madeline Ashton), in the dramas called «The River Wild» (1994, Gail Hartman), «The Bridges of Madison County « (1995, Francesca Johnson), «One True Thing» (1998, Kate Gulden).
Film experts were never tired of praising Streep’s excellent play, and the audience crowded at the box offices, trying to enjoy another movie masterpiece with the participation of their favorite actress. The actress easily and naturally showed such a level of skill that it became clear to everyone: Meryl deserved the superstar status. She was organic in the Homeric funny comedies and in dramas that freeze the soul; she fearlessly performed risky stunts.
However, she also had her own preferences: Streep most of all liked the role of an intellectual actress. Fate was on her side, so the 2000s began with a series of first-class projects, among which «The Hours», «Adaptation», and «Angels in America» especially stood out, which showered Meryl with many nominations and awards. Among them are Golden Globe, Silver Bear, Emmy, Screen Actors Guild Award, K.S. Stanislavsky Award «I Believe!».
The drama «The Hours», which collected record «harvest» of favorable reviews and gave a huge box office, attracted the audience with a brilliant play of Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore that starred together with Streep.
The actress was simply gorgeous, turning into Miranda Priestley, the head of the glamorous edition from David Frankel’s film «The Devil Wears Prada» (2006). For the sake of participation in this movie, Meryl put herself on a diet in order to get rid of the extra 10 kg, so that her character would correspond its prototype ‒ the editor-in-chief of Vogue Anna Wintour.
Fans of Meryl’s wonderful voice received great pleasure after watching the musical with her participation called «Mamma Mia!», which was directed by Phyllida Lloyd. The actress in the leading role was inimitable, and her songs from this film collected in the album were even nominated for the Grammy Awards. And although the opinions of critics about «Mamma Mia!» differed, the opinion of the public was univocal, which was confirmed by the collections in the world box office: the film brought to its creators $ 609 million.
In 2011, Streep played almost the most striking role in her creative biography. It was the character of the Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher in the film «The Iron Lady» directed by Phyllida Lloyd. In the film, the actress created a harmonious duet with Jim Broadbent. Thanks to the role of Thatcher, the Streep was presented the cherished statuette of the Oscar for the third time, as well as the Golden Globe, the British Academy Film Award, and the Honorary Golden Bear award of the Berlin International Film Festival.
Meryl Streep in the musical «Mamma Mia!»
Streep’s almost every role is an award. For example, the next awards were brought to Meryl by the drama «Into the Woods» (2014) ‒ MTV Movie Awards, and by the musical «Florence Foster Jenkins» (2017) ‒ the Cecil B. DeMille Award (from Hollywood Foreign Press Association).
Meryl Streep during the Oscar Awards ceremony(2012)
In the fall of 2018, the film «Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again» directed by Ol Parker was released. In the musical together with Meryl ‒ Donna Sheridan starred Cher, Pierce Brosnan, Lily James, and Colin Firth. The continuation (or rather, the prehistory) turned out to be just as stirring as the first part.
Trailer of the movie «Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again» with Meryl Streep’s participation
Meryl Streep’s personal lifeMeryl Streep’s first love was the actor John Cazale starring in «Godfather» of Coppola. The actress met John in the process of preparing the play called «Measure for Measure» in the theater of Joseph Papp.
John was married, but nothing connected him with his wife for a long time, so both he and Meryl did not think they were cheating someone. However, fate managed in its own way: John did not have time to be glad that he and his friend Robert De Niro and his bride Meryl were approved for shooting in the «The Deer Hunter», as he was diagnosed with cancer in the medical examination.
Robert De Niro insisted that Cazale to be left in the cast list; Meryl supported John as she could, and the film director Cimino primarily shot the scenes where Cazale played.
Meryl was with him until the very end, literally settling in the hospital. John Cazale died on March 23, 1978.
The actress underwent the loss with pain. After John’s death, Meryl’s brother settled her in the apartment of his friend, the sculptor Don Gummer, who was traveling throughout Europe. The girl planned to leave after his arrival, but Don persuaded her to stay. Hard work during the day and long conversations with Don in the evenings gradually calmed the storm in the girl’s soul: the bitterness of loss was weakening, and the present was taking its toll. The girl appreciated Don’s kindness, his manly reliability, and in the same year 1978, she agreed to marry him.
Since then 40 years have passed, but their family, built on love and trust, is still as strong as then. John and Meryl gave birth and brought up four children ‒ Henry (1979), Mary (1983), Grace (1986), Louisa (1991), who were thoroughly protected from communicating with the paparazzi.
Meryl Streep nowIn 2019, Meryl appeared quite often on the screens. So, with her participation, the series "Big Little Lies", Soderberg's film "The Laundromat", as well as the drama "Little Women" were released.
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