Meryl Streep Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Meryl Streep is an American actress born on June 22, 1949. She’s good at acting, being able to play all sorts of different roles and accents. People say she’s the best actress of her time. Over the years, she’s gotten a lot of awards for her acting, like 3 Oscars and 8 Golden Globes.

She started acting in plays in 1975, then moved on to movies in 1977 with Julia. One of her first big awards was an Emmy for a TV series called Holocaust in 1978. She got nominated for her first Oscar that same year for The Deer Hunter. Her first Oscar win came in 1979 for Kramer vs. Kramer, where she played a woman having a tough time. Then, she won another Oscar for Sophie’s Choice in 1982, where she played a Holocaust survivor. She kept acting in movies and winning awards all through the 1980s and 1990s, with some of her movies making a lot of money like Out of Africa, Death Becomes Her, and The Bridges of Madison County.

She kept her success going into the 2000s with movies like Adaptation, The Devil Wears Prada, and The Iron Lady, where she played Margaret Thatcher and won her third Oscar. She’s also been in some popular TV shows like Angels in America, Big Little Lies, and Only Murders in the Building.

Apart from all her acting awards, she’s gotten lots of honorary awards too, like the AFI Life Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center Honor, and the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award. In 2010 and 2014, she received awards from President Barack Obama. Even the French government gave her an award in 2003! She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame since 1998.

Full NameMary Louise Streep
Date of BirthJune 22, 1949
Place of BirthSummit, New Jersey, USA
Height5 ft 7 in (1.7 m)
SpouseDon Gummer (m. 1978)
ChildrenHenry Wolfe Gummer, Mary Willa Gummer,
Mamie Gummer, Grace Gummer
Net Worth$100 Million

Meryl Streep’s Early Life and Education

Meryl Streep Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Meryl Streep was born on June 22, 1949, in Summit, New Jersey. Her mom, Mary Wilkinson Streep was an artist, and her dad Harry William Streep Jr. worked in the pharmaceutical industry. She has two younger brothers, Harry William Streep III and Dana David Streep who are also actors.

Her family tree is quite diverse. Her dad had German and Swiss roots and her mom had English, German, and Irish ancestry. Some of her ancestors came from places like Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and even Ireland.

Meryl’s mom was a big supporter of her dreams, always telling her she could achieve anything she set her mind to. Meryl credits her mom for boosting her confidence when she needed it most. Despite being more reserved than her mom, Meryl often sought her advice for a confidence boost.

She grew up in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, where Meryl Streep went to Cedar Hill Elementary School and later Bernards High School. Even though she was a bit shy, she loved performing in school plays. It wasn’t until she acted in a play called Miss Julie at Vassar College that she realized her passion for serious acting.

After getting her bachelor’s degree in drama, she went on to pursue her master’s at Yale School of Drama. She worked hard, juggling acting gigs with odd jobs to pay her bills. Despite facing challenges, like developing ulcers from overwork, she pushed through and graduated with her master’s in 1975.

Along the way, she learned from various teachers and mentors, honing her craft and exploring different acting techniques. Despite some disagreements with her professors’ methods, she remained dedicated to her craft, even earning an honorary degree from Dartmouth College in 1981.


1970s: Early work and breakthrough

Meryl Streep Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Back in 1975, Meryl Streep started her acting career at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference. She did five plays in just six weeks. Then, she moved to New York City and got cast in a play called Trelawny of the Wells at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. This was her first big break, acting alongside Mandy Patinkin and John Lithgow.

In her first year in New York, she did five more roles, including in some Shakespeare plays. During this time, she was in a relationship with actor John Cazale until he passed away three years later. She also did some Broadway shows like Happy End and Alice at the Palace, which earned her an award.

Even though Meryl Streep didn’t plan on doing movies, seeing Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver made her rethink. She started auditioning for film roles but her first attempt in King Kong didn’t go well. Despite some setbacks, she continued her stage work and got nominated for a Tony Award.

Her first movie role was a small one in Julia with Jane Fonda. But the experience wasn’t great for her. She felt uncomfortable with a bad wig and some strange editing. However, she credits Fonda with opening doors for her in Hollywood.

She got a bigger role in The Deer Hunter where she acted alongside her boyfriend John Cazale. This film helped her gain more recognition and even got her an Academy Award nomination.

In the miniseries Holocaust, Meryl Streep played a German woman married to a Jewish man during World War II. This role won her an Emmy Award.

Despite her success in movies, Streep still preferred acting on stage. She continued doing both stage and film work, even though she wasn’t always enthusiastic about her film career.

In Kramer vs. Kramer, she played a woman who leaves her husband and child. Streep thought the original script made her character too evil, so she worked with the filmmakers to change it. This film earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Overall, her early years in acting were a mix of challenges and successes, both on stage and on screen.

1980s: Rise to prominence

In 1979, Meryl Streep started working on a musical version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland called Alice in Concert with writer Elizabeth Swados and director Joseph Papp. The show premiered in December 1980 at New York’s Public Theater. The New York Times praised Streep’s performance but questioned why she was so focused on it. By 1980, Streep was getting bigger roles in movies. Newsweek even called her a “Star for the 80s.” They said she had a mysterious way of acting that made her different from other stars.

Streep didn’t like all the attention she was getting from the media. She thought it was too much. Her first big leading role in a movie was in The French Lieutenant’s Woman in 1981. She played a character from two different periods. Streep learned to speak with an English accent for the part, but she felt unsure about her looks. She wished she looked more beautiful. A magazine article said Streep was like a “chameleon” because she could play many different kinds of roles.

She won a British film award for her role in The French Lieutenant’s Woman. The next year, she acted in a thriller called Still of the Night, but some critics didn’t think her chemistry with the other actors was great. However, Streep’s big breakthrough came in 1982 when she starred in Sophie’s Choice. She played a woman who survived a Nazi concentration camp. Critics loved her performance especially a scene where her character had to make a terrible decision about her children.

Streep won many awards for Sophie’s Choice, including an Oscar. Some critics said she was one of the best actresses ever. But not everyone loved the movie. One critic thought it was bad and that Streep’s acting didn’t feel real.

In 1983, Meryl Streep played a real person for the first time in the movie Silkwood. She portrayed Karen Silkwood, who tried to expose dangerous practices at a nuclear plant. Streep worked hard to understand her character, meeting with people who knew Silkwood. Some critics loved her performance, but others thought she wasn’t the right fit for the role.

Streep’s next movies didn’t do as well. Falling in Love and Plenty didn’t impress audiences much. But in Out of Africa, Streep played a Danish writer and won more praise. Even though some critics started to doubt her acting abilities, Streep kept getting big roles. She played an Australian woman in Evil Angels, which won her more awards.

In 1989, Meryl Streep wanted to star in a movie version of the play Evita, but she dropped out before filming started. She said she was tired, but it turned out there was a disagreement about her pay. Streep then decided to try a comedy She-Devil where she played a glamorous writer. Even though the movie didn’t do well, critics still thought Streep’s acting was great.

Meryl Streep was frustrated with the movie industry’s focus on targeting young male audiences. She felt like they were ignoring other types of viewers.

1990s: Commercial fluctuations

Meryl Streep Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

In the early 1990s, Meryl Streep experienced a decline in the popularity of her movies. Some people thought her comedic roles were an attempt to change her image after serious films didn’t do well. Also, being in her forties limited her options as an actress. Streep herself said that by the time actresses hit their mid-forties, there aren’t as many opportunities. She preferred working in Los Angeles near her family, which also limited her choices. In 1990, at a big women’s conference for actors, Streep talked about how women were getting fewer chances in the movie industry and weren’t being treated fairly both on and off-screen.

During this time, she acted in a mix of movies. In Postcards from the Edge and Defending Your Life, she showed her talent in both drama and comedy. Then came Death Becomes Her, a wild comedy where Streep played a character who had an affair with a younger man. She even convinced the writer to change some scenes to make her character more realistic. The movie had lots of special effects, which Streep didn’t enjoy working with. After that, she appeared in The House of the Spirits, which didn’t do well with critics.

One of her notable movies of the ’90s was The Bridges of Madison County, a romantic drama directed by Clint Eastwood. Meryl Streep played a woman who had a love affair with a photographer. She put on weight for the role and dressed differently to match the character she played. The film did very well and was praised by critics for its moving story. Streep’s performance was particularly applauded, marking her as a serious romantic lead in Hollywood.

In Marvin’s Room, she played the sister of a woman with leukemia, and her performance earned her another Golden Globe nomination. Streep also received praise for her roles in …First Do No Harm and Dancing at Lughnasa. In One True Thing, she portrayed a housewife with cancer, a role that showcased her natural talent and emotional depth, earning her more acclaim from critics.

2000s: Career resurgence and stage work

Meryl Streep had quite a busy start to the 2000s! She kicked it off with a small part in a movie about a robot kid called A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Then, she co-hosted a big concert in Norway to honor some Peace Prize winners. Later that year, she hit the stage for the first time in over two decades, playing a character named Arkadina in a play called The Seagull. Her son even had a role in the play!

The same year, she started working on a movie called Adaptation. She played a real journalist named Susan Orlean in it. People loved her performance and she won a Golden Globe for it. She also starred in a movie called The Hours alongside Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore. It was based on a book and got a lot of praise.

In 2003, Meryl Streep teamed up again with a director named Mike Nichols for a TV show called Angels in America. She played four different characters in it and won awards for her acting. Then, in 2004, she was in a remake of The Manchurian Candidate and a movie called Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

She also narrated a movie about an artist named Monet. Streep didn’t just stick to serious roles though. She was in a comedy called Prime in 2005. The next year, she acted in a play called Mother Courage and Her Children and starred in a movie called A Prairie Home Companion.

2006 was a big year for Streep. She played a boss in The Devil Wears Prada, which became her most successful movie yet. She also acted in a movie called Dark Matter and a thriller called Rendition.

The following year, she had smaller parts in a couple of movies, Evening and Lions for Lambs. Then, in 2008, she starred in the hit musical movie Mamma Mia! and a drama called Doubt. Both did well.

Meryl Streep kept up her streak in 2009 with Julie & Julia, where she played chef Julia Child. She also starred in a romantic comedy called It’s Complicated and voiced a character in a stop-motion movie called Fantastic Mr. Fox.

2010s: Further critical and commercial success

Meryl Streep Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Meryl Streep worked with the director of Mamma Mia, Phyllida Lloyd, again on a movie called The Iron Lady in 2011. It’s about Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, during the Falklands War and after she retired. Streep even went to see British politicians in action to prepare for her role. She said it was both scary and exciting to play Thatcher. Even though the movie got mixed reviews, Streep’s acting got a lot of praise. She won Best Actress at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs and also got her third Oscar.

Some people who knew Thatcher didn’t like how Streep portrayed her, saying it wasn’t accurate. But after Thatcher died, Streep said some nice things about her, praising her strength.

In 2012, Streep was in a movie called Hope Springs with Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. It’s about an older couple who go to marriage counseling to try to fix their relationship. People mostly liked the movie, saying Streep and Jones were great.

She was also in a movie called August: Osage County in 2013 with Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor. It’s about a messed-up family that comes together when their dad disappears. Streep played the head of the family who’s dealing with cancer and drugs. People liked her acting, and she got nominated for awards again.

In 2014, Meryl Streep was in a few more movies. One was called The Giver, about a boy learning about the real world in a strange future. Another was The Homesman, set in the old American West. Streep played a preacher’s wife who helps some troubled women.

She also did a Disney movie called Into the Woods where she played a witch. Even though some critics didn’t like the movie, they praised Streep’s acting. That year, she was going to play Maria Callas in a movie, but it got canceled.

In 2015, Meryl Streep was in a movie called Ricki and the Flash where she plays a grocery store worker who’s a rock musician at night. She even learned to play guitar for the role. Another movie she did that year was Suffragette, where she played a real-life British woman who fought for women’s right to vote.

In 2016, Streep was in a comedy called Florence Foster Jenkins about a woman who loved to sing but wasn’t very good at it. People liked her performance and she won an award for it.

In 2017, she was in a political drama called The Post with Tom Hanks. It’s about a newspaper publishing secret government documents. Critics liked the movie and praised Streep’s acting.

In 2018, she appeared in the sequel to Mamma Mia! and had a small part in Mary Poppins Returns. Then in 2019, she was in the TV show Big Little Lies and was nominated for an Emmy. She also starred in The Laundromat, a comedy about the Panama Papers, and played Aunt March in Little Women. Critics loved her in both movies.

2020s: Streaming projects

In 2020, Meryl Streep did some voice work for an animated short on Apple TV+. She also starred in two movies released by streaming services. One was The Prom on Netflix, where she acted alongside Nicole Kidman. The other was Let Them All Talk on HBO Max, where she worked with director Steven Soderbergh and other talented actors. Critics think her role in the HBO Max movie might be a clever nod to her status as a top-notch actor, but it’s hard to tell for sure.

The next year, Streep appeared in Don’t Look Up on Netflix, a movie where she played a funny version of the President of the United States who ignores climate change. Some critics said her performance was reminiscent of Donald Trump’s style, and it seemed like she was having a blast with it.

Meryl Streep also stepped into the role of executive producer for Sell/Buy/Date in 2022 and acted in a series called Extrapolations on Apple TV+. In 2023, she joined the cast of the Hulu show Only Murders in the Building as Loretta Durkin, a struggling actress. Critics praised her performance, saying she captured the struggles of her character. She even got a Golden Globe nomination and won a Critics’ Choice Television Award for her role.

And now, in 2024, it’s been announced that Streep will be returning to Only Murders in the Building for its fourth season, reprising her role as Loretta.

Other ventures

Meryl Streep Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Meryl Streep, the talented actress known for her roles in movies like Mamma Mia!, made quite a splash with her rendition of the song Mamma Mia from the movie’s soundtrack. It became really popular in Portugal, even reaching number eight on the music charts back in October 2008. She even won a People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Song From A Soundtrack” for it.

Apart from her acting career, Streep is also involved in various charitable activities. She supports causes like women’s history and empowerment. She’s donated a lot of money to the National Women’s History Museum and The Public Theater. She’s also been a part of campaigns like Gucci’s “Chime for Change,” which works to empower women.

In 2014, she set up scholarships at the University of Massachusetts Lowell for students studying English and math. She’s also passionate about supporting female screenwriters over forty and has funded a special lab for them to develop their skills.

Meryl Streep isn’t just about supporting women, though. She’s also spoken out about gender equality on a global scale. She’s signed letters, supported initiatives like Time’s Up, and even backed campaigns to free individuals like Oleg Sentsov, a filmmaker who was unfairly jailed in Russia.

When asked about feminism, she prefers to call herself a humanist, believing in balance and fairness for everyone. Whether it’s through her acting or her activism, Meryl Streep continues to make a difference in the world.

Reception and legacy

In 2004, Meryl Streep got a big award from the American Film Institute. Then, in 2011, she got another one from the Kennedy Center. Some famous people like Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway gave speeches about her. They all sang a song for her at the end.

In 2014, President Obama gave her a really special award called the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He said she’s amazing at acting and lots of people love watching her.

At the Golden Globes in 2017, Viola Davis gave her another award. Streep quoted Carrie Fisher in her speech, saying to turn sadness into art.

People say Meryl Streep is one of the best actresses ever. But she’s not stuck to one image; she can play all kinds of characters. She doesn’t have a strict way of acting, but she likes directors who let her try new things.

Mike Nichols, who directed her in several movies praised how she became her character. He said working with her feels magical. Streep’s acting has inspired many others in the industry.

She’s known for her talent with accents. She can do Danish, British, Italian, and many more. She says she learned a lot about using her voice from listening to singers like Barbra Streisand.

In Sophie’s Choice, she spoke English, German, and Polish with accents. And in The Iron Lady, she copied Margaret Thatcher’s voice from different times in her life. Streep thinks using accents is an important part of acting. When asked how she does it, she just says she listens carefully.

Activism and advocacy

Meryl Streep a famous actress is known for supporting left-wing politics in America. She spoke at a big event for the Democratic Party in 2016, backing Hillary Clinton for president.

At a major awards show in 2017, Streep got a special award and used her speech to criticize the incoming president Donald Trump. She talked about how he made fun of a reporter with a disability, saying he abused his power to hurt someone who couldn’t fight back. Trump hit back, calling Streep overrated and a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

When promoting a movie called Suffragette in 2015, Streep said a website called Rotten Tomatoes was unfair because it mostly showed reviews from male critics. She thought this hurt movies with female leads.

In 2023, Streep joined other top actors in threatening to stop working if their union didn’t improve things for them.

Personal life

Meryl Streep And Don Gummer

Karina Longworth, a writer, points out that Meryl Streep, despite being a big star, has managed to keep her personal life pretty normal. In the 1970s, she lived with actor John Cazale and took care of him when he was sick with lung cancer until he passed away in 1978. Streep still feels the pain of losing him, saying it’s always there in her mind, but she’s learned to live with it without letting it take over her life.

After Cazale died, Streep married sculptor Don Gummer. They have four kids together: Henry Wolfe Gummer, Mamie Gummer, Grace Jane Gummer, and Louisa Jacobson Gummer. They’ve moved around a bit, living in Connecticut and then moving to Los Angeles before eventually going back to Connecticut. But in 2023, it was reported that Streep and Gummer had been separated for more than six years and they haven’t been seen together publicly since the 2018 Oscars.

Meryl Streep is the godmother of Billie Lourd, who is the daughter of her close friend Carrie Fisher, another actress. Fisher wrote the screenplay for one of Streep’s movies, Postcards from the Edge, which came out in 1990.

When asked about religion in 2009, Streep said she doesn’t follow any specific beliefs or belong to any church or temple. She finds the idea of religion interesting but doesn’t believe in the power of prayer to change things. She finds it hard as a thoughtful person to not have that comfort, but it’s just not something she can believe in.

As for dealing with getting older and facing death, Streep finds hope in humanity’s efforts to be better. She believes in love, hope, and optimism, even though they may seem inexplicable. She’s driven by a desire to make the world a better place and wonders where that motivation comes from.

Net Worth

Meryl Streep’s Net Worth is estimated to be $100 Million as of 2024, according to Celebrity Net Worth.