Meryl Streep

Occupation: Actress
Date of Birth: June 22, 1949
Place of Birth: Summit, N.J., USA
Sign: Sun in Cancer, Moon in Gemini
Relations: Husband: Don Gummer; kids: Henry, Mary, Grace, Louisa
Education: Vassar College, Yale University


MERYL STREEP is what one would refer to as a "serious" actress. Growing up in suburban New Jersey, she took opera lessons from Beverly Sills' coach before discovering acting. Her roles have ranged from Dustin Hoffman's estranged wife in Kramer vs. Kramer to a concentration camp survivor in Sophie's Choice. One would expect nothing less from a graduate of Vassar and the Yale School of Drama and a veteran of New York's prestigious Public Theater. Her film debut came in Julia, but she first gained attention in The Deer Hunter, which earned her her first Academy Award nomination. After she won an Emmy that same year for her role in the miniseries Holocaust, she was dubbed "The Actress for the Eighties." Streep's success at this time was marred by the terminal illness of her lover, John Cazale (Fredo from The Godfather), who succumbed to bone cancer.

Streep threw herself into her work with a vengeance after Cazale's death: She won Oscars for Kramer vs. Kramer and Sophie's Choice, and nominations for Silkwood, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Ironweed, Out of Africa, A Cry in the Dark, and Postcards From the Edge. Along the way she married Don Gummer, a sculptor, and had four children. While some critics grouse that her awesome technique overshadows naturalness and spontaneity, Streep hasn't lost her magic. In her mid-forties, a dreaded age for Hollywood actresses, she essayed action-adventure in River Wild, had an Oscar-nominated romantic turn opposite Clint Eastwood in The Bridges of Madison County, and jerked tears as the black-sheep daughter returned to the fold in the family drama Marvin's Room.

In 1997, Streep returned to the small screen (after a nearly 20-year absence) for the TV movie . . . first do no harm, the true story of a mother who bucked the medical establishment by seeking a controversial treatment for her epileptic child. The project marked Streep's first foray into executive-producing. After a cinematic hiatus of nearly two years, she logged an Oscar-nominated performance alongside William Hurt and Renee Zellweger in the critical darling One True Thing, and headlined Dancing at Lughnasa, Pat O'Connor's film adaptation of Brian Friel's Tony Award-winning play of the same name. Streep invited a predictable Best Actress Oscar nomination for her 1999 offering, Music of the Heart, a 10-hanky drama based on the true story of Roberta Guaspari-Tzavaras, a music teacher who founded the East Harlem Violin Project. The Academy nod brought her to a record-tying career total of 12 nominations, an impressive distinction she shares with the great Katharine Hepburn.

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