If there is one person who has proven that women can rule Hollywood, then it is the magnificent Meryl Streep, who celebrated her 72nd Birthday today with fans and websites applauding the star’s illustrious and far from over career. With 93 acting credits to her name, along with more Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations than any other actor in history, it is the perfect time to remember just why Streep is so loved by Hollywood and millions of cinemagoers.
Born in 1949, Streep hailed from Summit, New Jersey, and was always encouraged by her mother, whom the actress has compared in manner and appearance to Dame Judi Dench, to be confident in everything she did. Streep certainly took this to heart, that confidence seeing her begin her career on stage at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Centre’s National Playwrights Conference, where she appeared in five different plays over a six week period in 1975. That year she moved to New York and appeared in her first real production of Trelawny Of The Wells opposite Mandy Patinkin and John Lithgow.
She continued working on Broadway, but cited Robert De Niro’s performance in Taxi Driver as her inspiration to try and get into movies. She auditioned for the lead role in Dino De Laurentiis’ King Kong remake, but was unsuccessful, with the director saying in his native language, “This is so ugly. Why did you bring me this?” of the actress. Unbeknown to him, Streep was able to speak Italian, and replied to him, “I’m very sorry that I’m not as beautiful as I should be, but, you know – this is it. This is what you get.” It was just another sign of her confidence and ability to stand up for herself in the tough industry. Her breakthrough into movies came soon after, in 1977’s Julia, starring opposite Jane Fonda in a small sequence of the film.
The following year she was suggested for a role in The Deer Hunter by the man who unknowingly spurred her acting desire a few years earlier, Robert De Niro. The movie’s success saw Streep nominated for her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and brought her to the attention of a wider audience. The same year, she won a Primetime Emmy for her role in the miniseries, Holocaust, which she appeared in with James Woods, but despite these successes, Streep still preferred to work on stage than in her new found screen roles.
In 1979, Streep was cast opposite Dustin Hoffman in the movie Kramer vs Kramer, which won her numerous Supporting Actress Awards and saw that her move into movies became much easier, thanks to many scripts coming her way, giving her a choice of roles to take on or reject as she wished. In the following years she appeared in The French Lieutenant’s Woman with Jeremy Irons, Still of The Night with Roy Scheider and Jessic Tandy, and Sophie’s Choice with Peter MacNicol and Kevin Kline, a role that not only won her a first Best Actress Oscar, but was named the third greatest movie performance of all time by Premiere magazine.
Streep starred in Out of Africa in 1985, which gave her the final confirmation needed that she was part of the Hollywood elite. She was now demanding $4 million a role, but the late 80s brought a string of misfires, she continued to work endlessly on more and more diverse roles. She starred in comedy drama Postcards From The Edge in 1990, the black farce Death Becomes Her in 1992, the adventure The River Wild and Clint Eastwood’s The Bridges of Madison County in the mid-90s, before appearing in many lesser known dramas through the rest of the decade.
She started the 2000s with a role in Spielberg’s AI: Artificial Intelligence and continued to diversify her movies, starring in The Manchurian Candidate with Denzel Washington and A Series of Unfortunate Events with Jim Carrey both in 2004. Her award nomination tally grew again with her role of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada two years later, and changed stride again in 2008 in the film adaptation of stage hit Mamma Mia!, which became her biggest financial success.
The 2010s brought with it her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, which earned the star her third academy award. This decade also saw the star make appearances in Hope Springs in 2012, with Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell, Stephen Sondheim musical adaptation Into The Woods in 2014, as well as The Post, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Mary Poppins Returns and HBO drama Big Little Lies. Her most recent work in the last year has her appear on Netflix in both Ryan Murphy’s The Prom and the Steven Soderbergh directed The Laundromat, followed by HBO Max comedy Let Them All Talk, and she next stars in Don’t Look Up with Jennifer Lawrence for Netflix.
Streep has more than earned her place in Hollywood history, and as she continues in her work, her fan base is as strong as ever, which was apparent by some of the messages posted on Twitter to commemorate her birthday today. Here is a selection of just some of them.
Happy Birthday to the incredible Meryl Streep! From #SophiesChoice to "Angels in America" to "Big Little Lies," which of her 93 acting credits is your favorite? https://t.co/zAxCDGiZiTpic.twitter.com/d4Udr7CJYI
— IMDb (@IMDb) June 22, 2021
to one of the most talented actresses the world knows. happy birthday meryl streep. 72 years old and still the greatest legend. we are lucky to have you🥳💛 pic.twitter.com/2V1G9ZzVGu
— ellie (@ryderskravitz) June 22, 2021
On this day 72 years ago a queen was born and the world was changed by her existence. Happy birthday to the legend Meryl Streep!🤍✨ pic.twitter.com/AVS1EWh7s3
— Liv🤍 (@fondaxthompson) June 22, 2021
— Sony Pictures UK 🎬 (@SonyPicturesUK) June 22, 2021
Screaming Happy Birthday to the queen, Meryl Streep! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/qWWB9g30od
— HollywoodLife (@HollywoodLife) June 22, 2021
22 OscarNoms, won three. 32 Golden Globe noms, won nine.
Olivia de Havilland: "I'll watch anything with Meryl Streep in." Her film debut Julia (1977) Her breakthrough role (Emmy) TV Holocaust. First OscarNom Deer Hunter (both 1978) pic.twitter.com/uTaqSz7YhV
— Lauren Facall (@Lauren66793666) June 22, 2021
— More Movies (@MoreMovies4U) June 22, 2021
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