Meryl was born Mary Louise Streep in Summit,
New Jersey, USA. Her father, Harry Streep Jr., was a
pharmaceutical executive and her mother, Mary, was a commercial
artist of Irish, Swiss, and English descent. Streep's father's
family is of Dutch descent, and the family's original surname,
Messerschnitz, was changed to Streep in the Netherlands by her
distant Sephardic ancestors.
Meryl was raised in Bernardsville, New Jersey. She received her A.B. in Drama at Vassar College and earned a M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama at Yale University.
Meryl Streep appeared in her first films, Julia and The Deer Hunter, in 1977 and 1978, the latter of which would earn her her first Academy Award nomination, for Best Supporting Actress. She subsequently won Academy Awards for her roles in Kramer vs. Kramer (Best Supporting Actress, 1979), and Sophie's Choice (Best Actress, 1982).
Meryl was engaged to The Deer Hunter co-star John Cazale, who died of bone cancer on March 12th, 1978. In September 1978, she married sculptor Don Gummer. The couple has four children: Henry (born in 1979), Mamie (born in 1983), Grace (born in 1986), and Louisa (born in 1991). Mamie Gummer been in several Broadway plays.
Meryl at press conference for A Prairie Home Companion, 2006 Berlinale, photo by Michael WeinerIn the 1980s, Meryl appearing in Woody Allen's Manhattan, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Silkwood, Out of Africa, Ironweed, Postcards from the Edge, and playing Lindy Chamberlain in A Cry in the Dark. From 1984 to 1990, Meryl won six People's Choice Awards for Favorite Motion Picture Actress and, in 1990, was named "World Favorite".
In the 1990s Meryl took a greater variety of roles, including a farcial role in Death Becomes Her alongside Goldie Hawn. Meryl also appeared in the movie version of Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits, 1995's The Bridges of Madison County, The River Wild, She-Devil, Marvin's Room, and Music of the Heart, for which she learned to play the violin.
Meryl Streep also provided her voice in episodes of the animated series The Simpsons and King of the Hill. She also voiced the Blue Mecha in the Steven Spielberg-Stanley Kubrick film, A.I.. She appeared alongside Nicolas Cage in Adaptation, played four different roles in the HBO adaptation of Tony Kushner's six-hour play Angels in America. In addition, Meryl Streep appeared in 'The Manchurian Candidate and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.
In July 2001, Meryl returned to the stage for the first time in more than twenty years, playing Arkadina in the Public Theatre's revival of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. The staging, directed by Mike Nichols, also featured Kevin Kline, Natalie Portman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Marcia Gay Harden and John Goodman. Meryl Streep is scheduled to return to the New York stage in August of 2006, starring in the Delacorte Theater's production of Mother Courage and Her Children. This production of the Brecht play features a new translation by Tony Kushner.
Meryl's most recent film releases are Prime,Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion in June 2006, and The Devil Wears Prada.
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