Mary Louise Streep
United States of America
Date of birth:
22 June 1949
Considered by many movie reviewers to be the greatest living film actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 15 times, and has won it twice. Born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, Meryl's early performing ambitions leaned toward the opera. She became interested in acting while a student at Vassar and upon graduation she enrolled in the Yale School of Drama. She gave an outstanding performance in her first film role, Julia (1977), and the next year she was nominated for her first Oscar for her role in The Deer Hunter (1978). She went on to win the Academy Award for her performances in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Sophie's Choice (1982), in which she gave a heart-wrenching portrayal of an inmate mother in a Nazi death camp.
A perfectionist in her craft and meticulous and painstaking in her preparation for her roles, Meryl turned out a string of highly acclaimed performances over the next 10 years in great films like Silkwood (1983); Out of Africa (1985); Ironweed (1987); and Evil Angels (1988). Her career declined slightly in the early 1990s as a result of her inability to find suitable parts, but she shot back to the top in 1995 with her performance as Clint Eastwood's married lover in The Bridges of Madison County (1995) and as the prodigal daughter in Marvin's Room (1996). In 1998 she made her first venture into the area of producing, and was the executive producer for the moving ...First Do No Harm (1997) (TV). A realist when she talks about her future years in film, she remarked that "...no matter what happens, my work will stand..."
Named Best Modern Actress in an Entertainment Weekly on-line poll, substantially beating out runner-up Michelle Pfeiffer. [September 1999]
Learned to play the violin, by practicing 6 hours a day for 8 weeks, for her role in Music of the Heart (1999).
Has a fear of helicopters.
Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1977" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 29.
Ranked #24 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Educated at Yale University. Studied Drama.
Graduated from Vassar College in 1971.
Once engaged to actor John Cazale.
Graduated from Bernards High School.
Before making it big, she was a waitress at The Hotel Somerset in Somerville, New Jersey, USA.
Was a cheerleader and homecoming queen in high school.
She left her just-claimed Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) on the back of a toilet during the 1979 festivities.
Replaced Madonna for the lead in Music of the Heart (1999).
Her son, Henry W. Gummer ("Hank"), is a student at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. 
Sister-in-law of Maeve Kinkead.
Named an Officer of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. 
Born at 8:05 a.m. EDT.
Tennessee Williams wanted her for a film version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" in the 1980s. When Streep proved unavailable, the project was refashioned for television and the role of Blanche given to Ann-Margret.
Has a deviated septum, which she refuses to have fixed. Directors work around it by avoiding straight-on close-ups.
Has 4 children; Henry Gummer (aka Harry Gummer) (b. 1979), Mary Willa Gummer (aka Mamie Gummer) (b. 1983), Grace Jane Gummer (b. 1986), and Louisa Jacobson Gummer (b. 12 June, 1991).
Measurements: 34B-26-36 (from film SFX torso mold done in 1982) (source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).
The children's TV series "Sesame Street" (1969) has featured a character named "Meryl Sheep" in her honor.
Was originally supposed to play the role of Iris Hineman is the film Minority Report (2002), but had to back out. She was replaced by Lois Smith.
Her character Karen Silkwood from her 1983 film Silkwood (1983) was ranked #47 on the American Film Institute Heroes list of the 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villians.
Presented Paul McCartney with the 1990 Grammy Lifetime Achievement award. Attended the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium in 1965 with an "I love Paul" sign, which she mentioned when presenting the award to McCartney.
Sister of Harry Streep.
Spent a year as a transfer student at Dartmouth College where she participated in theater.
Originally applied to Law School but slept in on the morning of her interview and took it as a sign she was destined for other things.
Sigourney Weaver was a fellow classmate at Yale Drama School.
Back at the Drama school, she and Sigourney Weaver appeared in a play staged in a swimming pool together. The play is called 'The Frogs.'.
Diane Keaton calls her "my generation's genius."
May 27, 2004 was proclaimed "Meryl Streep Day" by Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields. [May 2004]
She was voted the 37th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
As a young actor, she performed at the Yale Repertory Theater with Christopher Lloyd.
According to Katharine Hepburn's official biographer A. Scott Berg, Meryl Streep was her least favorite modern actress on screen: "Click, click, click," she said, referring to the wheels turning inside Streep's head.
Has only been turned down for three roles: Patsy Cline in Sweet Dreams (1985), Miss Kenton in The Remains of the Day (1993), and Elizabeth I in Elizabeth (1998).
Christine Estabrook was a fellow classmate at Yale Drama School.
She often works with Academy award-winning director Mike Nichols.
Mentioned by first name only (with two-time co-star Jack Nicholson) in Michael Crichton's 2004 novel "State of Fear.".
Tony Nominee in 1976 as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for Tennessee Williams' "27 Wagons Full of Cotton.".
Premiere Magazine ranked her as #46 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature (2005).
Born and raised in suburban New Jersey.
Took serious singing lessons. At age 12, she studied to become an opera singer.
Acting career began on the stage.
Is the second of 4 consecutive winners of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar to have the initials "M.S.". The others are: Maggie Smith - California Suite (1978), Mary Steenburgen - Melvin and Howard (1980), and Maureen Stapleton - Reds (1981).
Received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Middlebury College during her nephew's graduation in 2004.
She attended Harding Township Middle School, in Harding, New Jersey for 1 or 2 years
Sold her New York City townhouse for $9.1 million in February 2006. She was forced to slash the asking price for the eight-bedroom Manhattan property from $12 million to secure a sale. Streep bought the house for $2.2 million in 1995, according to the New York Post.
Early in her career, Streep received a letter from Bette Davis, whom most critics and cinema historians ranks as the greatest American movie actress ever. Davis told Streep that she felt that she was her successor as the premier American actress. Davis, a double winner who was nominated 10 times for an Academy Award, all of them Best Actress nods, set the record for most acting nominations with her tenth in 1963 for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), a record later surpassed by Katharine Hepburn with her 11th nomination (and 3rd win) for The Lion in Winter (1968). Hepburn extended her record with her 12th nomination (and fourth win) for On Golden Pond (1981), a record ironically eclipsed by by Streep--the actress anointed Davis' successor--with her own 13th nod for Adaptation. (2002).
Was nominated 15 times for the Academy Award, twelve times as Best Actress and three times as Best Supporting Actress, winning twice (Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and 'Best Actress' for Sophie's Choice (1982). Her 10 nominations in the top acting category is equaled by Bette Davis (ten Best Actress nominations) and surpassed by the legendary Katharine Hepburn with 12 Best Actress nods.
Her performance as "Sophie Zawistowska" in Sophie's Choice (1982) is ranked #3 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Her performance as "Karen Silkwood" in Silkwood (1983) is ranked #71 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Her husband, Don Gummer, is a sculptor.
Her father was a drug company exec; her mother, an artist-turned-housewife who kept an art studio behind the house. Her father loved to play the piano and her mother to sing. Meryl was given singing lessons at a young age. Her mother died in 2001 and her father in 2004.
Son Henry Gummer is an actor, filmmaker and co-founder of a rock band. Daughter Mary Willa, whose stage name is Mamie Gummer, is an off-Broadway actress.
Friend of Jill Clayburgh. First met in their roles as mothers.
Drives a Toyota Prius (September 2006).
The longest she has gone without an Oscar nomination is five years, between Postcards from the Edge (1990) and The Bridges of Madison County (1995).
Robert De Niro said she is his favorite actress to work with.
Was nominated for Best Actress in 1987 along with Cher. When Cher was announced, just before the cameras cut away from the other four actresses, Streep could be seen springing to her feet in delight and applauding for Cher. During her acceptance speech, Cher thanked Streep personally, as they had worked together on Cher's first film, Silkwood (1983). As the camera briefly cut away to Streep sitting in the audience, she blew Cher a kiss. (She's apparently a very good sport about losing.).
Considered for the role of Evita Peron in Evita (1996).
Holds the record as the female actor with the most Golden Globe wins, with six wins. Jack Nicholson is the male actor with the most wins, also at six.
Donated her wardrobe from The Devil Wears Prada (2006) to a charity auction.
Has named her favorite actresses working today as Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, Dame Helen Mirren, and Nicole Kidman.
Uses music, most often Classical, to get into character.
Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Currently holds the record for most Oscar nominations for acting (15 total), including both actors and actresses.
Nominated for a 2007 Drama Desk Award for her performance in "Mother Courage and Her Children" (Outstanding Actress in a Play).
Daughter of Mary Streep and Harry Streep (a pharmaceutical executive). Sister of Dana Streep.
Her accumulation of 12 Oscar nominations (2 wins) was accomplished over a period of only 21 years, with an additional 2 nominations by 2007 (11 leads/3 support). Bette Davis scored 10 nominations (2 wins) over 28 years (all leading roles). Katharine Hepburn garnered 12 nominations (4 wins) after a relatively lengthy 48 years (all leading roles).
Occasionally mistaken for friend Glenn Close, Streep was pregnant with her fourth child while shopping in a Los Angeles baby store where the staff lavished her with huge amounts of baby paraphernalia. Just as she was about to leave they whispered, "We loved you in Fatal Attraction (1987)".
Elected to the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2007 for her services to arts and entertainment (inaugural election). Official induction ceremonies held in May 2008.
She and her daughter Mamie Gummer portrayed the same role at different ages in 'Evening' (2007).
2007 - Ranked #6 on EW's The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood.
Nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award for "The One and Only Shrek" (Best Spoken Word Album For Children).
Has said she is a great fan of actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
With the announcement of the 66th Annual Golden Globe Award nominations and receiving two nominations, the actress surpassed Jack Lemmon's count of 22 nominations and is now, besides holding the record for most Oscar nominations, the actor with the most Golden Globe nominations of all time with a total of 23 nominations.
Good friends with actor Jim Carrey.
Good friends with Nicole Kidman.
She is the role model of Emily Blunt , Anne Hathaway and Claire Danes.
British actress Julie Christie is one of her huge fans.
She was one of closest friends of late actress Natasha Richardson.
She attended Natasha Richardson's funeral along with husband Don Gummer.
Signs her grocery cheques with her real name - Mary Louise Gummer.