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Biography #2 (for The Devil Wears Prada)

Meryl Streep has portrayed an astonishing array of roles in a career that has cut its own unique path from the theatre through film and television. A two-time Academy Award winner and a recipient of a record-breaking thirteen Oscar nominations, Streep had never acted in a drama before her sophomore year at Vassar College, when she won the title role in Strindberg's Miss Julie. An honors exchange program led to Dartmouth where she studied playwriting as well as set and costume design. After graduating cum laude from Vassar, she won a scholarship to the Yale School of Drama where she received a Master of Fine Arts degree, and the Carol Dye Acting Award at graduation, becoming the first woman in the school's history to receive this honor.

After a summer with the O'Neill Playwrights conference in Connecticut, Streep moved to New York and made her debut in Joseph Papp's Lincoln Center production of Trelawney of the Wells with Mary Beth Hurt and John Lithgow. Critics began to take notice in that first season of the versatility, imagination and range that has distinguished her work from the beginning.

She went from the Public Theatre to the Phoenix Repertory, where, in rotating productions, she played a nineteenth century Southern belle in the Civil War melodrama Secret Service, a sleek secretary in Arthur Miller's one-act A Memory of Two Mondays, and a slovenly floozy in Tennessee Williams' 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. For this virtuoso achievement, Streep won the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Theater World Award, and a Tony nomination. She performed in several productions in her first season in New York after graduation, including the New York Shakespeare Festival productions of Henry V, and Measure for Measure opposite John Cazale and Sam Waterston.

She starred on Broadway in the Brecht/Weill musical Happy End, and won an Obie for her performance in the off-Broadway production of Alice at the Palace. During this period she also won the Emmy for Best Actress for her portrayal of a devastated German wife in the controversial eight part mini-series Holocaust.

Streep began her feature film career as Jane Fonda's society friend in Julia, directed by Fred Zinneman. In her second screen role, Streep starred opposite Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken in The Deer Hunter, receiving her first Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a working-class Pennsylvania girl who's lonely, small-town life is irrevocably altered by the Vietnam War. Her next film was the political drama The Seduction of Joe Tynan, with Alan Alda.

She returned to the stage that summer to play Katherine opposite Raul Julia in The Taming of the Shrew for Joe Papp in his free Central Park production. She performed the Shakespeare at night, and during the day alternated filming Manhattan for Woody Allen and Kramer vs. Kramer with Dustin Hoffman. As Hoffman's troubled ex-wife in a custody battle, she garnered her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

She won her third Oscar nomination and the British Academy Award for her next film, The French Lieutenant's Woman, directed by Karel Reisz, in which she played the dual roles of a sophisticated contemporary actress and a tragic 19th century heroine. The following year, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her extraordinary performance in the title role of Sophie's Choice, directed by Alan Pakula from his adaptation of William Styron's novel. She was nominated again, the next year, for her portrayal of Karen Silkwood, the activist/heroine of Mike Nichols' Silkwood. Reuniting with Robert De Niro in her next film, Falling in Love, she won the David Award, the Italian equivalent of the Oscar.

Streep completed two films in 1985: Fred Schepisi's screen adaptation of David Hare's Plenty, and Sydney Pollack's sweeping romantic adventure Out of Africa, for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and another David award. She returned home and filmed two projects co-starring Jack Nicholson: Mike Nichols' Heartburn, and Ironweed, directed by Hector Babenco, for which she received her seventh Oscar nomination. She then traveled to Australia for Fred Schepisi's A Cry in the Dark. This performance as the infamous, unfairly maligned Lindy Chamberlain won Streep the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival, The New York Film Critics Circle, an AFI award and another Oscar nomination.

She next won Golden Globe nominations for her work in Susan Seidelman's She-Devil, and Postcards from the Edge (with Nichols again) starring opposite Shirley MacLaine. This adaptation by Carrie Fisher from her own novel won Streep praise for her singing, and yet another Oscar nomination. She continued to find comedic work with Albert Brooks in his delicious contemplation of a neurotic's trial in purgatory in Defending Your Life, and Robert Zemeckis' docu-drama on aging in L.A., Death Becomes Her, co-starring Goldie Hawn. After returning to the States from Europe where she filmed Billie August's The House of the Spirits, from Isabel Allende's acclaimed novel, she tackled the physical challenges of an action movie in The River Wild, directed by Curtis Hanson, taking Kevin Bacon down Class IV rapids in Oregon and Montana. She next returned to television, co-producing with director Jim Abrahams, the real-life drama First Do No Harm, earning an Emmy nomination for her work as the mother of an epileptic child who pursues alternative therapies.

Her next film, Clint Eastwood's The Bridges of Madison County, won her overwhelming acclaim and Screen Actor's Guild, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for her complex portrayal of a lonely Iowa farm wife who opens her heart to a stranger. The following year she was seen opposite Liam Neeson in Barbet Schroeder's Before and After, and opposite Diane Keaton and Leonardo DiCaprio in Marvin's Room, for which she received another Golden Globe nomination. In 1999 she teamed with Renee Zellweger in One True Thing, from Anna Quindlen's prize-winning novel about a prodigal daughter's return home to care for the mother whose life she had undervalued. Streep received SAG, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for this performance, as well as the Berlinale Camera Award at the Berlin Film Festival. That same year she appeared with an ensemble of extraordinary Irish and English actors in the critically lauded Dancing at Lughnasa, based on Brian Friel's play, directed by Pat O'Connor.

In 1999 Streep learned to play the violin for Wes Craven's Music of the Heart. The film depicted the real life struggle of teacher and single mother Roberta Guaspari, who brings the violin to inner city kids, empowering their lives through music. She earned her twelfth Academy Award nomination for her work in this film.

Streep and her family moved to New York City in 2001, where she made another homecoming as well. She returned to Central Park's Delacorte Theatre in Mike Nichols' critical and popular hit The Seagull, a free production of the New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theatre. The extraordinary cast also included Kevin Kline, Christopher Walken, Marcia Gay Harden, Natalie Portman, John Goodman, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

In 2003, Streep's work in The Hours won her the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival together with her co-stars, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore, as well as SAG and Golden Globe nominations. In the same year, her eccentric portrayal of Susan Orlean in Spike Jonze's Adaptation, was recognized with a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and BAFTA and Oscar nominations. That year she was given the Honorary Cesar for Career Achievement in Paris, where she also was accorded a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the highest civilian honor given by the French government. The following year Streep appeared alongside Al Pacino and Emma Thompson in the HBO epic Angels in America, directed by Mike Nichols from Tony Kushner's adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning plays. Playing four characters, she won the Golden GlobeĀ and Screen Actors Guild Best Actress awards for this work.

Streep's most recent work includes The Manchurian Candidate, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, both for Paramount, and Prime with Uma Thurman. She'll next be seen in A Prairie Home Companion with Lily Tomlin and Lindsay Lohan, directed by Robert Altman. Her upcoming projects include providing the voice for the Queen Aunt in Warner Bros.' The Ant Bully. Also upcoming are Dark Matter directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, and the New York Public Theatre production of Mother Courage in Central Park in an adaptation by Tony Kushner, directed by George C. Wolfe.

Streep was a co-founder of Mothers and Others, a consumer advocacy group that worked successfully for 12 years to protect the health of children and the environment and to support organic and sustainable agriculture. She continues her advocacy work with the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, the Children's Health and Environment Coalition, and Equality Now, a champion of the rights of women and girls worldwide. She has been married for 27 years to artist Don Gummer; they are the parents of a son and three daughters.

Bio courtesy Fox for "The Devil Wears Prada" (10-Jul-2006)


Biography #3 (for Dancing at Lughnasa)

A recipient of ten Oscar nominations, two-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep is regarded as one of the world's finest actors. In addition to her stunning performance in Pat O'Connor's film adaptation of the multiple Tony Award-winning play Dancing at Lughnasa, Streep's 1998 repertoire also includes One True Thing, directed by Carl Franklin from the novel by Anna Quindlen.

Streep first studied at Vassar, qualifying in the highly-competitive honors exchange program to Dartmouth, where she studied playwrighting, as well as set and costume design. Following her graduation from Vassar, Streep attended the prestigious Yale Drama School, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1975. After a summer with the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, she moved to New York and promptly landed the lead role in Joseph Papp's Lincoln Center production of Trelawney of the Wells.

Ms. Streep's astonishing versatility surfaced early, as she volleyed same-night performances as a sophisticated secretary in Arthur Miller's A Memory of Two Mondays and a slovenly floozy in Tennessee Williams' 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, resulting in the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Theater World Award and a Tony nomination. During her first season in New York, Streep's playbill included Shakespeare Festival productions of Henry V and Measure for Measure, followed by starring roles in the Broadway musical Happy End and a Obie-winning performance in Alice at the Palace. During this period, Streep also won an Emmy for her starring role in the television mini-series Holocaust, and initiated her feature career in the Academy Award-winning film Julia.

Streep received her first Oscar nomination for her second screen role in The Deer Hunter, followed by Woody Allen's Manhattan and Jerry Schatzberg's The Seduction of Joe Tynan. In the same year, Streep starred in the Joseph Papp's Public Theatre production of The Taming of the Shrew, and opposite Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer (for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress).

She was the most prolific actress of the 1980's for her starring roles in The French Lieutenant's Woman (third Oscar nomination); Sophie's Choice (Academy Award for Best Actress); Silkwood (fourth Oscar nomination); opposite Robert DeNiro in Falling in Love (winning a David di Donatello Award, the Italian equivalent of the Oscar); the Fred Schepsi adaptation of David Hare's Plenty; Sydney Pollack's romantic biopic Out of Africa (fifth Oscar nomination); opposite Jack Nicholson in the screen adaptation of Nora Ephron's autobiographical Heartburn; the film adaptation of William Kennedy's Ironweed (sixth Oscar nomination); A Cry in the Dark (Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival, New York Film Critics Award, and her seventh Oscar nomination); and as the home-wrecker romance novelist in the darkly comedic She-Devil (Golden Globe nomination).

In the 90's, Streep has starred as a vain, treacherous actress in Robert Zemeckis' black comedy Death Becomes Her (Golden Globe nomination); opposite Albert Brooks in Defending Your Life; as Shirley MacLaine's dsyfunctional daughter in Mike Nichols' Postcards From the Edge (eighth Oscar nomination); opposite Liam Neeson in Before and After; The Bridges of Madison County (co-starring with Clint Eastwood, who also directed); The River Wild; the elegaic adaptation of Isabel Allende's acclaimed novel The House of the Spirits; and Marvin's Room (opposite Diane Keaton and Leonardo DiCaprio). In 1997, Streep co-produced and starred in the television drama First, Do No Harm, earning another Emmy nomination.

Bio courtesy Sony Classics for "Dancing at Lughnasa" (04-Aug-2002)


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