15 Things You Didn’t Know about Meryl Streep
In the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Meryl Streep we are going to talk about the actress’ career and how amazing she is!
With a career spanning five decades, she has surprised everyone with how well she can transform to better portray a character.
Born on June 22, 1949, in Summit, New Jersey, she is the daughter of Mary Wolf Wilkinson, a commercial artist and art editor and Harry William Streep Jr., a pharmaceutical executive.
Growing up in Presbyterian in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, had her attending Cedar Hill Elementary School and Oak Street School, where she made her debut in the pay The Family Upstairs.
Later, she made her professional stage debut in a Play for 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. Since then, she made her screen debut in The Deadliest Season, and her career continued to grow until she became one of the most famous actresses in the world.
Throughout her career she has won many awards and nominations for roles such as Out of Africa, One True Thing, The Devil Wears Prada, among others. But about that, we will talk a bit later!
Today, she continues to surprise everybody with her determination, great acting skills, and a kind heart. Here are 15 things you didn’t know about Meryl Streep!
#1 She is a Distant Relative the founder of Pennsylvania
Her father, Harry had German and Swiss ancestry, with his lineage tracing back to Loffenau, Germany from where her second great-grandfather came to the United States.
She is a distant relative of William Renn through her mother’s ancestors who lived in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
According to some records, her family is among the first who bought land in the state, which makes her a distant relative of the founder of Pennsylvania himself.
#2 Before She Was an Actress Meryl Used to Work as a Hotel Waitress
This happened after she received her BA cum laude from college, as well as applied for an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
Like any other student, she needed to make money to support herself and so she worked at Hotel Somerset in Somerville, New Jersey.
This happened in her early days, all before she made her breakthrough as an actress.
During the same time, she also used to type and appeared in over a dozen stage productions a year. All this work schedule soon took the best of her and she started developing ulcers.
#3 At 26 Years Old She Made her Acting Debut in Julia
She made her first feature film debut alongside Jane Fonda, where she played a small role during a flashback sequence.
However, they edited most of the scenes she shot, but the brief time on screen had a bad impact on her:
“I had a bad wig and they took the words from the scene I shot with Jane and put them in my mouth in a different scene. I thought I’ve made a terrible mistake, no more movies… hate this business”.
Despite having this kind of experience she cited Fonda as a lasting influence on her as an actress and has credited her as “open[ing] probably more doors than I probably even know about”.
She contemplated on quitting acting after finishing the film, but we are glad she changed her mind.
#4 She Almost Went to Law School But Overslept Through Her Alarm
Upon graduating from Vassar College she wanted to attend law school. On the morning of her interview, she accidentally slept through her alarm.
Instead of feeling bad about it, she took it as a sign she was meant to do something else with her career.
After this, she followed her calling and applied to Yale School of Drama from where she received her MFA at 26 years old.
The rest, as they say, is history.
#5 Meryl Streep Asked For Double Pay for her Role in The Devil Wears Prada
For one of the most iconic roles in her entire career, Meryl had to negotiate her pay to what she thought she was worth.
Revealed in an exclusive interview for the film’s 10 year anniversary, was the fact that Streep had to negotiate for double the pay from Fox studio’s initial offer.
However, she also mentioned that she had always been hesitant to negotiate for more pay, but this time she felt she deserved it.
“There was my ‘goodbye moment,'” she told Variety, “and then they doubled the offer. I was 55, and I had just learned, at a very late date, how to deal on my own behalf.”
Today, her net worth is estimated to be around $95 million.
#6 She Wrote Her Own Dialogue for two of Kramer vs. Kramer Scenes
Cast opposite Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs Kramer, Meryl portrayed an unhappily married woman who abandons her child and husband.
She felt that the script portrayed her character as ‘too evil’ and often mentioned that is was not representative of real women who faced marriage breakdown and child custody battles.
Eventually, the script was changed as the producers agreed with her and she went on to prepare for the part with the help of her mother.
The film’s director allowed her to write her own dialogue in two key scenes, although Dustin Hoffman had some objections about it.
She won both the Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
#7 She Forgot her first Oscar on the back of a Toilet
When she won that first Oscar, back in 1979, you’d think that she would’ve kept a better eye on it. But on the same night, she won it she left her statue in the bathroom on the top of the toilet, perhaps because of her excitement, but more likely because of the champagne.
Luckily for her, someone spotted the golden statue on the toilet and returned it to its rightful owner.
#8 She Could’ve Become an Opera Singer
When she was younger, she was selected to sing at a school recital, leading to her taking opera classes with Estelle Liebling.
Back then, when she was 12 years old, she took formal lessons and wanted to become an opera singer.
But quit after just four years saying:
“I was singing something I didn’t feel and understand. That was an important lesson — not to do that. To find the thing that I could feel through”.
The lessons helped her for her role in the film Into the Woods, where she sang most of the songs live, although she did have pre-recorded versions as well.
#9 She is Known for her Ability to Imitate a Wide Range of Accents
During her college years, she demonstrated an early ability to mimic accents and to quickly memorize her lines thanks to her photographic memory.
As an actress who knows a lot about acting, she has taken a wide range of roles throughout her long career, which helped mold her persona.
Rather than only settling for the intense preparation she undergoes every time she prepares for a role, she also gives her character a unique touch by adding an accent to make it more believable. And she is extremely good at it!
For example, for her Oscar-winning role in Sophie’s Choice, she mastered the Polish accent as well as the German one!
Her Polish accent was so on point that the locals thought she was from Poland!
Throughout her career, she has used Australian, British, Danish, Italian, New York Bronx accents, among others.
#10 Robert De Niro’s Performance in Taxi Driver had a Great Impact on Young Meryl
While still struggling to find her place in the world, and with no intention of becoming an actress, she saw Robert De Niro’s performance in Taxi Driver which had a profound impact on her younger Meryl who said to herself: “that’s the kind of actor I want to be when I grow up”
Little did she know that in the future Robert De Niro would help her make her breakthrough role in the film The Deer Hunter. Back then, De Niro saw her on stage while performing on The Cherry Orchard and suggested she play the role of his girlfriend.
#11 At the Beginning of her career she Slept in Green Park, under a Tree
When she first traveled to London in her 20s, she didn’t have a place to sleep. Most of the times she went to overnight accommodations, but one night she didn’t have enough money so she slept in the open.
She has mentioned this time of her life in an interview for a famous publication:
“On my very, very first trip to London, when I was 20, I went around busking to afford food and overnight accommodation.”
“One night when I hadn’t earned enough, I actually slept in the open in Green Park, under a tree. The view was of the Ritz London hotel and I vowed to myself that night that I was going to stay there one day—and I have!”
“You can’t possibly get spoiled if you do your own ironing and get the station wagon out to go into town to get the weekly groceries.”
#12 She is the Most Nominated Actress in the World
Throughout her career, since the 70s, she has won many nominations and awards. So far, Streep has 20 Academy Awards nominations, more than any other actor.
She is also one of the six actors to have won three or more competitive Oscars for acting.
And has also received 30 Golden Globe nominations, winning eight, which makes her the only actress to have these many nominations.
Among her most notable Oscar-nominated roles our favorites are Silkwood (1983), Out of Africa (1985), Adaptation (2002), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Doubt (2008), Julie & Julia (2009), just to name a few.
#13 She Kept The Iconic Sunglasses She Wore in The Devil Wears Prada
After the film wrapped production, Meryl donated a lot of clothes to a charity auction, but she decided to keep the glasses her character, Miranda Priestly wore in the movie.
In the film Mamma Mia! she wore the sunglasses again while performing the ABBA hit “Money, Money, Money”.
However, this is not the first time she wore the same costume twice. During that time she portrayed Emmeline Pankhurst in Suffragette, she wore the same shoes from Out of Africa when she played Karen Blixen 30 years before.
The reason? The production team just couldn’t find the right size for her, so she just bought an old pair from another role.
#14: The New York production of Mamma Mia! Impressed her So Much That She Wrote them a Letter to thank them
One time she was so impressed with the New York production of Mamma Mia! that she had to write the cast a letter to praise them.
Meryl is just like any of us when she is fangirling, if she likes you, she will tell you.
The letter she wrote later passed hands until it reached the producers and stage director, Phyllida Lloyd, who later made the film version.
Meryl’s words gave the director courage to cast her for the part because he needed to convince her to take this kind of role.
However, because she studied opera as a child, her vocal skills made her perfect, so she agreed to take the part.
#15 She and Her Husband Live in a $8.95 million penthouse in Tribeca
After moving out from her stunning New York City townhouse which she sold for $9.1 million in 2014, she quickly moved into another amazing property- the luxurious $8.95 million penthouse in Tribeca.
Her new penthouse is located at 92 Laight Street in the newly-built River Lofts building which offers breathtaking views of the Hudson River.
She lives with her husband Don Gummer, a sculptor, in the almost 4,000-square feet residence with 10-foot ceilings and integrated sound system.
Plus, their bedroom features an en-suite dressing room and limestone spa bathroom.
She suffers from Corcoranophobia. Basically, she is terrified of helicopters. We don’t know for sure where did she get that fear from. However, we do know for sure that she doesn’t do helicopters.
In your opinion is Meryl Streep the best actress of her generation? What are the things you didn’t know about her?