With numerous prestigious honors she has received throughout her prolific yet remarkable career, Meryl Streep indeed has proven her superiority among other movie stars to really deserve the title of one of the greatest living film actresses in the history of American filmmaking. A daughter of a pharmaceutical executive of Dutch descent, Harry Streep Jr., and a commercial artist named Mary, this extremely gifted thespian was born Mary Louise Streep on June 22, 1949 in Summit, New Jersey as the oldest of three children in the family. Mainly raised in the states' affluent township of Bernardsville, the girl originally took interest in opera and even once was trained under the guidance of noted vocal coach Estelle Liebling, but later eagerly shifted into acting upon finding greater excitement in performing during her study at Bernardsville High School. Nurturing this new fondness, she ambitiously provided herself with the knowledge and skills on the field, first entering Vassar College to take major in English and drama then going to Yale School of Drama where she satisfyingly obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree in Drama by 1975.
Already compiled impressive theatrical experience she mostly gained through her involvement in Yale Repertory Theatre, Meryl really did not find much difficulty to build her way in the professional world for she quickly encountered her Broadway debut in New York Shakespeare Festival Theatre's presentation of "Trelawny of the Wells" later that year. This was delightfully followed by others, notably that of "27 Wagons Full of Cotton" (1976) which led her to secure a Tony Award nomination for Featured Actress in a Play category in the same year, making it easier for her to shift into screen productions. Afterwards seen for the first time in film feature through Fred Zinnmann's "Julia" (1977), this charming blonde amazingly only needed less than 2 years to score high in the industry as she wonderfully nabbed best supporting actress nomination at both Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards in 1979 for her fine performance in "The Deer Hunter" (1978).
Also secured a BAFTA Award nod in the Best Actress category through the same picture in 1980, newcomer Meryl unmistakably shot right away to widespread prominence following the superb attainment even a senior actress could hardly match. The exposure immediately went greater later that year when she finally strived to win the former two honors for her next portrayal in "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979), a both commercially and critically successful tear-jerking divorce saga directed by Robert Benton. It gloriously continued to circulate around her for the rest of the era as she managed to win another Oscar out of six nominations, another BAFTA Award also two more Golden Globes out of five for her roles in "The French Lieutenant's Woman" (1981) and "Sophie's Choice" (1982). Sadly, the actress' choice to often play emotionally cold character, sometimes with accent, made her performances became too predictable that it thereby brought a slight decline to her career by the early 1990s.
Realized the importance to explore more sides of human characters, Meryl subsequently put her focus to take roles with greater variety and so involved herself in different genre of wide-screen features, going comedic in "Death Becomes Her" (1992) while generating tension in "The River Wild" (1994) before showing her romantic side in "The Bridges of Madison County" (1995). It was through her portrayal of an earthbound farm wife undergoing love affair with a rootless photographer in the latter movie that the blue-eyed beauty ultimately soared back to the top as she made her way to land triple nominations of Actors, Golden Globes, and Oscar in leading role category a year later. The glory still continued when she successfully repeated the accomplishment not only once but twice in 1999 and 2000 for her remarkable enactments in "One True Thing" (1998) and "Music of the Heart" (1999) respectively.
Kept staying high in demand despite the continuous arrivals of fresh, talented faces in Hollywood, Meryl smoothly moved on her path to busily take part in a series of acclaimed projects which included "Adaptation" (2002), "The Hours" (2002), and HBO miniseries of "Angels in America" (2003). All satisfyingly directing her to collect more award nominations, the latter even brought her to win an Emmy Award for the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie and another Golden Globes for that of Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television in 2004. Still maintained to play diverse roles as noticed in "The Manchurian Candidate" (2004), "Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events" (2004), plus "Prime" (2005), she joyously remained being productive in the following years, adding at least 7 more pictures to her resume, including those of "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006), "Evening" (2007), "Rendition" (2007), and "Lions for Lambs" (2007), among others.
An adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's best-selling novel of the same title, "Prada" wonderfully became another effective vehicle for Meryl to display her excellent acting range as she portrayed high-powered, impossibly demanding fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly. Effortlessly held critics' attention through the role, she once again snatched a Golden Globe Award at its 64th annual celebration on January 15, 2007, this time scoring in Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy slot.
Showing no sign to slow down, Meryl smoothly kept striving forward for more by adding handfuls of acting stints into her resume. For year 2008 only, she has already had at least four big screen projects to do, namely "Dirty Tricks", "Mamma Mia!", "Doubt", and "First Man", a comedy from Diane English also starring Robert De Niro. All of these would then be followed by performances in Rodrigo Garcia-directed drama "A Question of Mercy" and Nora Ephron-scripted "Julie & Julia", both scheduled for a 2009 release.
Taking a look into her private life, Meryl once had been known to establish love relationship with actor John Cazale whom she met on the set of "The Deer Hunter" and later engaged to in the '70s. Sadly, the romance had to end in 1978 when Cazale passed away on March 12 because of bone cancer, leaving her in devastating condition for sure yet she fortunately was able to flourish a new love in a short time upon bumping into renowned sculptor Donald J. Gummer. Ultimately married in September 1978, the couple afterwards happily welcomed their first child, a son they named Henry in 1979, then a daughter, Mary Willa Gummer, by 1983 before adding two more members to the family, Grace Jane in 1986 and Louisa Jacobson on June 12, 1991.