Known as the best actress of her generation, and the record holder for the greatest number of Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations
"Mary Streep, known professionally as Meryl Streep, is an American actress. Cited in the media as the "best actress of her generation", Streep is particularly known for her versatility and accent adaptation. Nominated for a record 21 Academy Awards, she has won three. Streep has also received 31 Golden Globe nominations, winning eight — more nominations and competitive wins than any other actor.
Streep made her stage debut in Trelawny of the Wells in 1975. In 1976, she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play for 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. In 1977, she made her screen debut in the television film The Deadliest Season, and also made her film debut in Julia. In 1978, she won an Emmy Award for her role in the mini-series Holocaust, and received her first Academy Award nomination for The Deer Hunter. Streep went on to win Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), and Best Actress for Sophie's Choice (1982) and The Iron Lady (2011).
Streep's other Oscar-nominated roles were in The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), Silkwood (1983), Out of Africa (1985), Ironweed (1987), Evil Angels (1988), Postcards from the Edge (1990), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), One True Thing (1998), Music of the Heart (1999), Adaptation (2002), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Doubt (2008), Julie & Julia (2009), August: Osage County (2013), Into the Woods (2014), Florence Foster Jenkins (2016), and The Post (2017). She returned to the stage for the first time in over 20 years in The Public Theater's 2001 revival of The Seagull, and won a second Emmy Award and a Golden Globe in 2004 for the HBO mini-series Angels in America (2003).
Streep was awarded the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2004, Gala Tribute from the Film Society of Lincoln Center in 2008, and Kennedy Center Honor in 2011 for her contribution to American culture through performing arts. President Barack Obama awarded her the 2010 National Medal of Arts, and in 2014, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2003, the government of France made her a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters. She received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2011 and was awarded the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2017.
Although in high school, Streep appeared in numerous school plays, she was uninterested in serious theater until acting in the play Miss Julie at Vassar College in 1969, in which she gained attention across the campus… She received her BA cum laude from the college in 1971, before applying for an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. At Yale, she supplemented her course fees by waitressing and typing, and appeared in over a dozen stage productions a year, to the point that she became overworked, developing ulcers. She contemplated quitting acting and switching to study law… She received her MFA from Yale in 1975. Streep also enrolled as a visiting student at Dartmouth College in the fall of 1970, and received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the college in 1981.
Vanity Fair commented that "it's hard to imagine that there was a time before Meryl Streep was the greatest-living actress". Emma Brockes of The Guardian notes that despite Streep's being "one of the most famous actresses in the world", it is "strangely hard to pin an image on Streep", in a career where she has "laboured to establish herself as an actor whose roots lie in ordinary life". Despite her success, Streep has always been modest about her own acting and achievements in cinema. She has stated that she has no particular method when it comes to acting, learning from the days of her early studies that she cannot articulate her practice. She said in 1987, "I have a smattering of things I've learned from different teachers, but nothing I can put into a valise and open it up and say, 'Now, which one would you like?' Nothing I can count on, and that makes it more dangerous. But then, the danger makes it more exciting." She has stated that her ideal director is one who gives her complete artistic control, and allowing her a degree of improvisation and to learn from her own mistakes…
Streep is the spokesperson for the National Women's History Museum, to which she has made significant donations (including her fee for The Iron Lady, which was $1 million), and hosted numerous events. On October 4, 2012, Streep donated $1 million to The Public Theater in honor of both its late founder, Joseph Papp, and her friend, the author Nora Ephron. She also supports Gucci's "Chime for Change" campaign that aims to spread female empowerment.
In 2014, Streep established two scholarships for students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell - the Meryl Streep Endowed Scholarship for English majors, and the Joan Hertzberg Endowed Scholarship (named for Streep's former classmate at Vassar College) for math majors.
In April 2015, it was announced that Streep had funded a screenwriters lab for female screenwriters over forty years old, called the Writers Lab, to be run by New York Women in Film & Television and the collective IRIS. The Lab was the only one of its kind in the world for female screenwriters over forty years old. In 2015, Streep signed an open letter for which the ONE Campaign had been collecting signatures; the letter was addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they served as heads of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa, respectively, in setting development funding priorities. Also in 2015, Streep sent each member of the U.S. Congress a letter supporting the Equal Rights Amendment. Each of her letters was sent with a copy of the book Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for the ERA is Now by Jessica Neuwirth, president of the ERA Coalition.
Streep, when asked in a 2015 interview by Time Out magazine if she was a feminist, answered, "I am a humanist; I am for nice easy balance." In March 2016, Streep, among others, signed a letter asking for gender equality throughout the world, in observance of International Women's Day; this was also organized by the ONE Campaign. In 2018, she collaborated with 300 women in Hollywood to set up the Time's Up initiative to protect women from harassment and discrimination…
Politically, Streep has described herself as part of the American Left. She gave a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in support of presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
On January 8, 2017, Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Golden Globes, during which she delivered a highly political speech that criticized then-President-elect Donald Trump. She said that Trump had a very strong platform and was using it inappropriately. She said that he mocked a disabled reporter, Serge F. Kovaleski, whom, in her words, Trump "outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back", and that, "When the powerful use their position to bully, we all lose". She also said, "Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick us all out, you'll have nothing to watch except for football and mixed martial arts, which are not arts." Trump responded on Twitter by calling Streep "one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood", and "a Hillary flunky who lost big." (1)