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  April 8th, 2013       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

Margaret Thatcher, the first woman ever to serve as prime minister of Great Britain and the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century, has died at age 87. Thatcher had significant health problems in her later years, suffering several small strokes and, according to her daughter, struggling with dementia. But during her long career on the political stage, Thatcher was known as the Iron Lady. She led Great Britain as prime minister from 1979 to 1990, a champion of free-market policies and adversary of the Soviet Union. Many scenes of her political career, shown today in news reports all over the world, not only highlight her impact in politics for decades, but also recall Meryl’s powerful performance as Thatcher in her Oscar-winning performance in 2011’s “The Iron Lady”.

Today, Meryl Streep’s management has released a statement by Meryl on Margaret Thatcher’s death:

Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics. It is hard to imagine a part of our current history that has not been affected by measures she put forward in the UK at the end of the 20th century.

Her hard-nosed fiscal measures took a toll on the poor and her hands-off approach to financial regulation led to great wealth for others. There is an argument that her steadfast, almost emotional loyalty to the pound sterling has helped the UK weather the storms of European monetary uncertainty.

But to me she was a figure of awe for her personal strength and grit. To have come up, legitimately, through the ranks of the British political system, class bound and gender phobic as it was, in the time that she did and the way that she did, was a formidable achievement. To have won it, not because she inherited position as the daughter of a great man, or the widow of an important man, but by dint of her own striving.

To have withstood the special hatred and ridicule, unprecedented in my opinion, leveled in our time at a public figure who was not a mass murderer; and to have managed to keep her convictions attached to fervent ideals and ideas — wrongheaded or misguided as we might see them now — without corruption — I see that as evidence of some kind of greatness, worthy for the argument of history to settle.

To have given women and girls around the world reason to supplant fantasies of being princesses with a different dream: the real-life option of leading their nation; this was groundbreaking and admirable.

I was honored to try to imagine her late life journey, after power; but I have only a glancing understanding of what her many struggles were, and how she managed to sail through to the other side. I wish to convey my respectful condolences to her family and many friends.

  • David Devine

    I admired Mrs Thatcher despite being a working class kid from Glasgow. She had a belief in Britain and turned our country around, which was in a dire state when she assumed office in 1979. She was a breath of fresh air and is a great example to those without privilege what could be achieved through hard work. I was honoured to have met her on a few occasions, she was genuinely interested in real people. It must never be forgotten that she won 3 elections so it was the people that put here there. Not just the first female leader of the UK but the entire Western World. Meryl did a really fair portrayal of Mrs Thatcher, very moving. Rest in Peace Lady T, you will never be forgotten, you were loved and always elected!

  • Sonja

    And yet Britain voted a third time for her in 1987 by a HUGE majority. What were they actually thinking? Third time’s the charm?
    That she would change over night? I just… don’t get it.

  • T. Confait

    For the first time last week I watched the Iron Lady played by Ms Streep.
    Yes I am behind the times in watching films and i generally keep to science fiction, fantasy or Japanese Anime as a means I guess for myself to avoid real life sadness which is brilliantly portrayed by many excellent films. After watching Ms Streep in the role of Margaret Thatcher in her older years, with many moments of Ms Thatcher flashing back to her political life, I had an insight to Thatcher the lady, yes the Iron lady.
    Who can replicate her strength and hardcore decisions and at a time where even women were to be seen and not heard and not taken seriously in politics I feel. The portrayal by Ms Streep of Margaret Thatcher was the most brilliant portrayal I have ever seen. The voice, the mannerisms the look, everything about the way Ms Streep acted as Thatcher is a movie that will be remembered for many reasons.
    How ironic that just after I viewed this brilliant portrayal of Ms Thatcher in her older years, frail and with some dementia, to now have the knowledge that she has passed away. And to hear all the various slurs about her from people who were strongly apposed to thatcher to do so at a time where one should allow a little respect for a person who stood up for her convictions and beliefs. If people have to bag her then do it down the track and have some respect during her funeral period. I am thankful for Ms Streeps portrayal of the Iron Lady. Ms Streep is a true legend in her own right and will also play a part in film history as one of the greatest and versatile actress s of her time.
    Thank you Meryl Streep and rest in peace Ms Thatcher.
    With thanks Therese.

  • Andrew

    I personally loathe Thatcher and all she stood for. You just have to consider the statistic that since 1979 when she came into power the rich have got richer and the poor have got poorer and we have lived with that legacy ever since.

  • D Nielson

    Meryl’s comments are honest and respectful. I learned more about Margaret Thatcher watching The Iron Lady.

  • Alvaro

    It is very difficult to be respectful of Thatcher as a person, when raging against Thatcherism and her policies. While in government, she did business with South Africa government during apartheid, stigmatised gay people because of Section 28 and during the AIDS crisis – just like her pal Reagan.

  • Sonja

    Me too was not a fan of Thatcher, but despite the conflicts she caused it is admirable how long she was able to keep her status as prime minster of Great Britain. The first and only female PM up to date.
    She really wore the title “Iron Lady” rightfully, trying to archive the things she thought would be the best for Britain. Has she made mistakes? Of course she did, but she never apologized.
    Whatever you thought on her or her politics, she has her place in history. There will never be another female politician like her, I’m sure.
    So RIP Mrs. Thatcher.

    Meryl is of course a pure act of class. Choosing her words wisely and with respect. As she did with her performance.

  • Heather Burdett

    What a wonderful and respectful tribute from Meryl for the woman she admired as a person and differed with in her political beliefs. If only people in the political world could treat their opponents in such a way – looking for the good in all people. Meryl always speaks so graciously and from the heart.

  • zabrina

    The biggest problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of everyone else’s money- Margareth Thatcher..

    Regardless of how you feel about her politics, this was a remarkable woman who stood for something at a remarkable time..

    Rest in Peace, Margaret Thatcher..

    Thanks to Meryl for playing Maggie T.

  • toddmthatcher
  • Jane

    When I heard about Margaret Thatcher’s death in the news today, I have to say I was touched by it. Like Meryl I don’t agree with most of her policies but through Meryl’s work I have come to respect her as a woman who stood up for her beliefs without compromise.