Streep, Meryl, 1949–, American actress, b. Summit, N.J., as Mary Louise Streep. She attended Yale Drama School and appeared in many Broadway and off-Broadway productions during the early 1970s. Moving to Hollywood, she made her film debut in Julia (1977), and has become one of the most acclaimed film actresses of her generation. The coolly elegant Streep is famous for her pitch-perfect mastery of a myriad of accents, just one aspect of the superb technique she employs in her varied and often uncannily telling portrayals. These include the edgily ironic wife of Kramer vs. Kramer (1979; Academy Award), the anguished Polish émigré of Sophie's Choice (1982; Academy Award), the rebellious factory worker of Silkwood (1983), the accused Australian mother of A Cry in the Dark (1988), and Britain's Prime Minister Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011; Academy Award). Among her other motion pictures are The Deer Hunter (1978), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), Out of Africa (1985), Postcards from the Edge (1990), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), The Hours (2002), and The Devil Wears Prada (2006). She has also appeared in several television dramas, e.g., Angels in America (2003). Streep returned to the New York theater in 2006 to star in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children.
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