Mary Louise “Meryl” Streep is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television and film. She is widely regarded as one of the most talented and respected movie actors of the modern era.
Streep made her professional stage debut in 1971’s The Playboy of Seville, before her screen debut in the television movie The Deadliest Season in 1977. In that same year, she made her film debut with Julia. Both critical and commercial success came quickly with roles in The Deer Hunter and Kramer vs. Kramer, the former giving Streep her first Oscar nomination and the latter her first win. She later won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Sophie’s Choice. Streep has received 16 Academy Award nominations, winning two, and 25 Golden Globe nominations, winning seven, more nominations than any other actor in the history of either award. Her work has also earned her two Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Cannes Film Festival award, four New York Film Critics Circle Awards, five Grammy Award nominations, a BAFTA award, an Australian Film Institute Award and a Tony Award nomination, amongst others. She was awarded the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.
Streep was born Mary Louise Streep in Summit, New Jersey, the daughter of Mary Wolf, a commercial artist and former art editor, and Harry William Streep, Jr., a pharmaceutical executive. She has two brothers, Dana and Harry. Streep is of German, Swiss and English ancestry. Her heritage can be traced back ten generations to Loffenau, from where her second great-grandfather, Gottfried Streeb, emigrated to the United States, and where one of her ancestors served as mayor. Another line of the Streep family was from Giswil, a small town in Switzerland. Her maternal ancestry can be traced to Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Her eighth great-grandfather, Lawrence Wilkinson, was one of the first Europeans to settle Rhode Island. Streep is also a distant relative of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, and records show her family were among the first purchasers of land in Pennsylvania.