She is called a “woman with a thousand faces”, “a chameleon actress”; they say that she is the most intelligent and the only “serious” Hollywood actress, but at the same time she is a completely atypical “product” of the American “dream factory”.
For more than 20 years of work in the cinema, she has collected a whole collection of various awards, including two Oscars: the first for the supporting role in the film Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), the second for Sophie’s Choice (1982) .
Meryl Streep was born on June 22, 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, USA. Her father was an employee of a pharmaceutical company, and her mother was an artist. Meril’s long-time ancestors were Spanish Jews who emigrated to Holland in the fifteenth century. Once in a new country, they, not knowing the language, began to sign with a dash, hence the surname – Strip.
“I received a very modest religious education at Sunday school,” Meryl recalls. “And from there I was kicked out at 12 when I was bad for behavior. True, I was extremely happy when it happened.” By “bad behavior,” she means a passion for dramatic art that has awakened from childhood. At school, Meryl constantly made her classmates laugh, mocking teachers; when she was 12 years old, the girl’s parents invited a singing teacher for her.
Of course, already then she was attracted by an artistic career, which for Mary Louise, who at the age of 15 renamed herself Meryl (she added the first letter of her middle name to her name), began on the stage of Vassar College. “I was an ugly duckling,” she recalls. I had dark hair, I wore glasses and looked like a little old woman. Fortunately, by the age of 15, I had the intelligence to go against adults and do my own thing. I dyed my hair blonde “, removed the brackets from her teeth, inserted contact lenses instead of glasses, and immediately became the beauty queen!”
After graduating from Vassar College, she entered Yale University in the drama department. And then she had a hard time. “At the beginning of each month, we lined up and the teacher chose who would play the roles. From the whole class they always chose the same ones. I was always among them. Thus, tension gradually grew between me and my less fortunate friends. in the end I could not stand it and went to the psychiatrist. I told him a long time about all my hardships. And he said: “You will finish the course soon. Be patient. I swear that never again in your life will you have to experience such terrible emotional overloads. “And he was right.”
In parallel with her studies, Meryl worked in summer theaters as a costume designer. And after graduating from university in 1975, she became a certified expert in fine arts. Then she decided to start professionally acting in films and playing in the theater.
… Christmas 1975 will remain in her memory forever. It was then that the telephone rang, and Joseph Papp, director of the Public Theater in New York, offered Meryl the lead role in the production of An Eye for an Eye, and also asked if she had any desire to play the French princess in Henry V. “Joe gave me two roles at once. But he didn’t know then if I could go on stage without stumbling. I know that many did not like him, but even the enemies called him great.”
The play “Eye for an Eye” is associated with Meryl’s sad affair with actor John Keysel, who played the role of Angel, better known to the audience as Freddie Corleone from Coppola’s Godfather. John was married, although practically nothing connected him with his wife. With Meryl, he began a stormy and passionate romance. They began to live together and were already talking about the wedding. But happiness turned out to be tragically deceiving. John, along with Meryl and De Niro, was approved for one of the roles in Michael Cimino’s famous film “The Deer Hunter” (1978), which subsequently received five Oscars. But during the examination, John found an incurable disease – bone cancer. There was no question of work in the film. John was depressed. De Niro stipulated that if his friend did not appear in the film, his producers would not see it either. John remained in the picture, but his role was almost all cut out.
It was their only collaborative film: the dying John Keysel and gathered all her will into the fist of Meryl Streep. “Deer Hunter” is full of despair and hopeless sadness: the tragedy of a soldier who fought in Vietnam and an incurably ill actor merged into one.
Meryl used every opportunity, trying to distract John from the fatal inevitability. Together they spent evenings reading his favorite books and taking walks. Only the fortitude and energy of Meryl supported John. However, the strip was waiting for the shoot. Even before John’s illness, she signed an agreement on participation in the television movie “Holocaust” (1978). For two and a half months she had to leave John. Later, the Holocaust received 8 Emmy awards, including for Best Actress. But Streep did not appear at the presentation ceremony. Caseel had two weeks to live, and Meryl moved to John’s hospital, becoming him a caring nurse and last consolation. John Keysel died on March 12, 1978, at the age of 42. His death completely devastated Meryl. In an interview six months later, she admitted: “No matter what I do, pain lives in me. It leaves an imprint on everything that happens” …
In parallel with the work in the Woody Allen film “Manhattan” (1979) Meryl Streep was looking for a new apartment. Don Hammer, a friend of her brother, offered her his workshop. He himself was going to spend some time in Europe. Don was engaged in wood and metal sculpture. Meryl intended to leave the workshop with the arrival of the owner. But Don invited her to stay in a small room at the workshop … The marriage of Meryl Streep and Don Hammer turned out to be one of the most successful and durable in Hollywood. Together with her husband and four children – Henry, Mary, Grace and Louise – she lives on a ranch in Connecticut. The actress carefully protects her children from flash paparazzi and tries as little as possible to leave the family.
Despite the impeccable “family biography,” Meryl still tried to attribute “service novels,” mostly with film partners. In particular, she is credited with an affair with Clint Eastwood, with whom she starred in the film “Bridges of Madison County” (1995). Eastwood commented briefly on the rumors: “I admire her. But the romance … This, unfortunately, is impossible.” As for the film itself, Meryl played Francesca, a provincial housewife, and was included in the list of candidates for an Oscar for best leading female role. In general, after the release of the “divorce” family drama by Robert Benton, “Kramer vs. Kramer”, it became almost a tradition to include Meryl Streep in the lists of nominees almost every year. In 2000, Meryl Streep was nominated for the 12th time.
However, Meryl looks rather pessimistic at the “heights” that await women in the movies: “In a year I get only three interesting scenarios – only three! Moreover, in two of them the roles are completely not for me. Therefore, if I manage to play in one film, I believe that I was unbelievably lucky. And yet I always believe that my new film will be a huge success. Each time I watch a edited film, it seems to me that it turned out much better than you might expect. “