Meryl Streep - One of her kind!
Regarded as one of the most talented actresses of the current era, Meryl Streep has won the hearts of millions of movie-lovers not only on the silver screen but also as a television and theatre actress. Having made her professional debut on the stage in The Playboy of Seville (1971), she followed it up with her screen debut in the television movie The Deadliest Season (1977).
Her first movie to hit the screens was Julia (1977). She went on to deliver stellar performances in movies such as The Deer Hunter and Kramer Vs. Kramer. Critical and commercial success soon came pouring in, and she also bagged her first Academy Award nomination for the former, and won one for the latter! Later on, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in Sophie’s Choice and The Iron Lady. Kramer Vs. Kramer, coupled with two of her other films that released in the year 1979- the romantic comedy Manhattan, the political drama The Seduction of John Tynan, collectively brought home to her the quite a few awards; amongst others, he also managed to walk away with the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Born in Summit, New Jersey to a mother who was a commercial artist cum art editor and a father who was a pharmaceutical executive, who would have imagined that the young girl at Yale School of Drama, who played a variety of roles onstage would rise to such unmatched stardom years later! The 1970’s saw her mostly in promising roles as the supporting actress, for which she was duly acclaimed, her versatility was brought to full flowering when she went on to essay lead roles from the 1980’s. Her first step to re-establishing her potential was The French Lieutenant’s Woman, which not only ushered in accolades galore, but also won her a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Thereafter, one milestone followed another as she starred in movies such as Still of the Night, A psychological thriller and Sophie’s Choice, centred on the theme of the Polish holocaust. The latter drew in hordes of critics’ appreciation as well as a number of notable awards for her, including the prestigious Academy Award for Best Actress. The renowned critic
Roger Ebert showered upon her well-deserved praises not only for this one but also for her performances in Silkwood, Falling in Love and Plenty. The subtlety and spontaneity that she exuded onscreen brought the characters alive, and this was unanimously commended.
She continued to choose a variety of roles, and thus came Out of Africa, A Cry in the Dark, She-Devil etc., the last being her first comedic film role. All of these were quite well-received and Streep in particular had long become the heartthrob of the generation for the sheer brilliance she portrayed in the movie reels. Her 2008 released Mamma Mia! Went on to be her highest-grossing film till date, and was also the highest-grossing musical films of all-time. Her rendition of the title song was a chartbuster in the Portuguese music records; she also won a People’s Choice Award for the same, besides a nomination for the Grammy Award for her work on the movie’s soundtrack. With movies such as Adaptation, Doubt, Julia and Julia, Hope Springs etc., she continued to charm audiences and critics alike even in the ensuing years. An astonishing feature about the actress in her is her grasp over different accents and dialects. Her ability to imitate a wide range of accents infuses such credibility into the characters that leaves her admirers awestruck.
From 1984 to 1990, she won six People’s Choice Awards and in 1990, she was named the World Favourite. She has received 17 Academy Award nominations, out of which she won three; 27 Golden Globe nominations, out of which she won eight, and the number of her nominations are higher than that of any other actor in history. Besides, she has also won two Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Canned Film Festival Award, and many others! Recently in 2010, US President Barack Obama felicitated her with the National Medal of Arts. Also having lent her support to various philanthropic causes, she is one of those few actresses who has left an indelible mark on whatever she laid her hands on!