Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Meryl Streep - Biography

The American actress was born in 1949 in New Jersey and is best known for starring in The Devil Wears Prada, Sophie's Choice, The Iron Lady, Mamma Mia, and more

Meryl Streep attends the 70th EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) at Royal Albert Hall on February 12, 2017 in London, England
Share this:

Meryl Streep's Early Life

Mary Louise Streep was born on June 22, 1949 in Summit, New Jersey. She developed an early interest in performance and being on stage, receiving opera training and often being spotlighted in school recitals.

When she entered college, she began taking acting more seriously, appearing in plays throughout her time at Vassar College in the 60s and 70s, eventually attending the Yale School of Drama and receiving more nuanced acting coaching.

Meryl Streep's Career

She made her theater debut in the '70s, achieving early praise for several Broadway productions and a Tony Award nomination for 1976's A Memory of Two Mondays. She made her film debut in 1977's Julia and received her first Oscar nomination for 1978's The Deer Hunter, which brought her national recognition and acclaim. That same year, she won her first Primetime Emmy for starring in the miniseries Holocaust. She closed out the decade with an Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Kramer vs Kramer.

Streep became a household name in the 1980s, thanks to several more Oscar nominations and her second win in three years for her devastating turn in 1982's Sophie's Choice, considered to be one of the greatest performances put to screen. Her commercial success fluctuated in the later part of the decade and the '90s, but she still boasts significant credits like Silkwood (1983), Out of Africa (1985), Death Becomes Her (1992), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), and Music of the Heart (1999).

Streep received renewed acclaim in the aughts and 2010s, and greater commercial success than ever before. The pinnacle was her third Oscar win for 2011's The Iron Lady. Her other big film projects from the era include Adaptation (2002), The Hours (2002). The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Doubt (2008), Mamma Mia! (2008), Julie & Julia (2009), Into the Woods (2014), and The Post (2017). She also found further success on TV with the hit series Angels in America (2003), Big Little Lies (2019), and Only Murders in the Building (2023).

Meryl Streep's Personal Life

Despite her success and legacy, Streep has famously lived a quiet and relatively normal life away from the spotlight. She lived with actor Don Cazale in the '70s, caring for him when he'd developed lung cancer and passed away in 1978.

Six months after his death, she married sculptor Don Gummer, and they have remained together since. They are parents to four children: one son, musician Henry Wolfe Gummer (born 1979), and three daughters, actresses Mary Willa "Mamie" (born 1983), Grace Jane (born 1986), and Louisa Jacobson Gummer (born 1991). She is also the godmother of Billie Lourd, the late Carrie Fisher's daughter.

To learn more about Meryl Streep, click here

More Profiles

See more