EXPLORE THE ARCHIVES
The Simply Streep Archives has gathered details on all of Meryl Streep's feature films, television, theatre and voice narration, and also features an extensive library of articles, photographs and video clips. You can browse the collection by Ms. Streep's career or through a year-by-year summary.
Nov 29
2020

After the success with “Sophie’s Choice”, Meryl Streep went into a complete different direction and took on the role of Karen Silkwood, a blue-collar worker at a Nuclear plant in Oklahoma, who had gathered documents of safety breaches but died under mysterious circumstances before being able to hand them to the press. “Silkwood” was directed by Mike Nichols, who would become a friend and recent collaborator in Streep’s life and career. Nichols cast Kurt Russell as Meryl’s boyfriend and Cher in the role of her roomate and best friend. The singer turned actress was “frightened of meeting Meryl. I thought it was going to be like having an audience with the Pope. Somebody so big she’s out of this world. I mean, me and Meryl Streep? Never! [But] we’d knit, crochet, and joke about men. Meryl and I talked about our kids so much I thought something was wrong with us, that we didn’t have an existence outside of them. Then I realized we were just two proud mothers.”

“Silkwood” proved to be another prime example of Streep’s versatility upon its theatrical release in December of 1983. The film’s hefty box office gross was helped in part by the January 1984 U.S. Surpreme Court decision to reinstate the ten-million-dollar award against the Kerr-McGee Corporation. Meryl Streep received consecutive nominations for the Golden Globe, the British Film Award and the Academy Award. While “Silkwood” went home empty-handed at the Academy Awards, Cher received a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actress and often credits her collaboration with Streep and Nichols as the turning point in her acting career.

December 14, 1983
Nov 29
2020

Meryl reunited with director Robert Benton for the stylish noir thriller “Still of the Night” – a role she has often mentioned to not enjoying to play due to its lack of dimension. Co-starring Roy Scheider, she was the ice-cold femme fatale who keeps the watcher guessing if she is a murderer or a damsel in distress. But there was another performance in 1982 that lifted her still-young career to another level. Director Alan Pakula had begun working on the adapting William Styron’s “Sophie’s Choice” for the big screen. The heart-wrenching story of a Holocaust survivor haunted by the demons of her past became a sought-after role in Hollywood, but Pakula was determined to cast an unknown Polish actress for the part. After all, parts of the films demanded Polish and German language skills.

For Streep, this was the role she always wanted to play and she persuaded Pakula to cast her in the lead. To prepare for the role, and the harrowing scenes in a concentration camp, which were filmed in Yugoslawia, she took intensive speech classes to master the accent and lost a fair amount of weight. “Sophie’s Choice” was released in December 1982 and won instant praise from critics as one of the singular best performance by an actor or actress. For her role, Meryl received accolades from the National Board of Review, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, a third Golden Globe Award and a second Academy Award, her first as Best Actress.

December 08, 1982
November 19, 1982
Nov 29
2020

Director Karel Reisz cast Meryl Streep in her first leading role on film – actually two roles – in the historic drama, “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”, based on the novel by John Fowles, the screenplay was written by Harold Pinter. While critics – and her co-star Jeremy Irons – first wondered why an American actress was hired to play a British character in an adaptation of an acclaimed British novel, Meryl proved that she was the right choice. Twelve weeks before shooting commenced, she hired a vocal coach and spent long periods reading aloud from Jane Austin and George Eliot to speak the british accent of her character Sarah Woodruff perfectly. The victorian drama was shot on location in Lyme Regis. Telling the story of an educated biologist, Charles Smithson, who’s engaged to be married, but falls in love with the outcast Sarah Woodruff, a stranger in town, since it was once rumored she had an affair with the title-given French Lieutenant. Reisz used a complicated, but masterfully performed turn in his storyline. A second plot, about two fictional actors, again performed by Streep and Irons, and their own little romance on the set of the film. While Irons’ performance made no big difference between his Charles and the actor, called Mike, it was a joy to see two totally different appearances by Streep as the victorian Sarah and the modern and attractive actress Anna, and how their on-set romance is interwoven with the heavy cost of the victorian tragedy.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman and especially Streep’s double performance was praised by critics in the USA and the UK alike. The New York Times wrote: “Miss Streep has never looked more beautiful nor has she been more in command of her talent as she switches back and forth between the lightweight movie actress and the tragic Sarah, who enters the scene as a Hardy-like victim of fate and stays on to triumph as a modern woman a century ahead of her time.” When award season began, the British Academy recognized Streep’s performance with their BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe and the Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association followed. Meryl was also again nominated for an Oscar, the first time in the Leading Actress category, the award was eventually given to Katharine Hepburn.

Nov 29
2020

The early new decade and wide January release of „Kramer vs. Kramer“ brought another sweep of public attention, but this time worldwide. Streep was proclaimed *the* star for the ‚80s on the cover of Newsweek Magazine and received the Golden Globe, Los Angeles Film Critics Circle Award, National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle Award and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for „Kramer vs. Kramer“. The film received 5 Academy Awards out of its 9 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman. Meryl Streep did not release a film in 1980. She spent the Summer with her new young family in the United Kingdom, shooting her first leading role in the big screen adaptation of John Fowles‘ „The French Lieutenant’s Woman“.

December 29, 1980 - Jan 25, 1981
June 15, 1980
Nov 29
2020

When „Holocaust“ aired in West Germany on the Third (Regional) Network in January of 1979 (a forum apparently designed to lessen its impact), viewer response was little short of stunning. According to German polls intended to measure audience reaction before, immediately after, and several months after „Holocaust“ appeared, this single television event had a significant effect on West Germans’ understanding of this episode in the history of their country. Despite strong opposition to the broadcast before it aired, some 15 million West Germans – roughly half the adult population – tuned in. For Meryl, who later recalled having a miserable time filming the series in Austria, the year was another turning point in her still young career. She starred in three theatrically released films – „The Seduction of Joe Tynan“, „Manhattan“ and „Kramer vs. Kramer“. The latter hit a nerve with audiences and critics, who praised its frank look at separation and navigating a divorce. On the polar opposite of the film’s spectrum, Meryl Streep married sculptor Don Gummer and had her first child, a son named Henry.

December 19, 1979
April 25, 1979
February 22, 1979 - April 01, 1979
Nov 29
2020

As the name Meryl Streep became more prominent in the New York theatre circles, the work kept coming in. Streep worked simultaneously on three projects – she filmed both Woody Allen’s „Manhattan“ and Robert Benton’s „Kramer vs. Kramer“ during the day in New York and played Isabella in Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park production of „The Taming of the Shrew“ at night. In April of 1978, NBC aired the four-part miniseries „Holocaust“, which made Meryl a household name overnight and can be considered as the first important breakthrough on the screen. „Holocaust“ recieved a record-breaking 15 nominations at that time, winning 8 awards, including one for Meryl Streep as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series. She also received the National Society of Film Critics for Best Supporting Actress. The second breakthrough followed in December with the release of Michael Cimino’s much debated – and much acclaimed – „The Deer Hunter“, in which Meryl co-starred opposite Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken. For her performance, Meryl Streep received her first nominations for the Academy Award, the Golden Globe and the British Academy Award. The film itself won five Academy Awards, including for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

December 29, 1978 (3 performances)
December 08, 1978
August 03, 1978 - September 03, 1978
Nov 29
2020

1977 marked Meryl’s professional debuts on television and film. In January, a taped version of the Phoenix Theatre production of „Secret Service“ was broadcast on PBS. Later that year, she was seen opposite Michael Moriarty in the television crime drama „The Deadliest Season“. She also added to more prestigious theatre performances to her resumé – as Dunjasha the maid in „The Cherry Orchard“ opposite Raul Julia and Irene Worth, and as Lt. Lilian Holiday in the Broadway production of „Happy End“ opposite Christopher Lloyd. Meryl Streep spent the Summer of 1977 in Austria, again with Moriarty, to film the NBC miniseries „Holocaust“. In October, she was seen on the big screen for the first time, in a bit part in Fred Zinneman’s „Julia“, opposite Jane Fonda.

October 02, 1977
May 07, 1977 - July 10, 1977
February 17, 1977 - April 10, 1977
Nov 29
2020

In late 1975, Meryl Streep had auditioned for Phoenix Theatre in New York and made her debut with roles in two one-act plays, which were performed on the same evenings – Tennessee Williams‘ „27 Wagons Full of Cotton“ and Atrhur Miller’s „A Memory of Two Mondays“. John Lithgow, who was one of Phoenix’s four directors, had already heard of „the young Yale Drama School girl who had fared so well in „Trelawny of the Wells“ at Lincoln Center“ and considers their first meeting at the Phoenix Theatre as the last audition of her career. She received glowing reviews for both plays, received an Outer Critics Circle Award, World Theatre Award and a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress for „27 Wagons Full of Cotton“. Together with Lithgow, she co-starred ina production of William Gillette’s „Secret Service“. In the Summer of 1976, Meryl Streep was swept away by the Public Theatre. Joseph Papp cast her in the female leads in both „Henry V.“, which was performed in Central Park, as well as Isabella in „Measure for Measure“ opposite John Cazale. Meryl also narrated a voiceover for the first time, in the animated feature „Everybody Rides The Carousel“.

August 11, 1976 - August 29, 1976
June 24, 1976 - July 25, 1976
April 12, 1976 - May 02, 1976
January 26, 1976 - March 21, 1976
January 26, 1976 - March 21, 1976
Nov 29
2020
Public Appearances
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In the resuming months of Yale’s 1974/1975 season upon her graduation – Meryl Streep played Bertha in „The Father“ opposite Rip Torn and Helena in a production of William Shakespeare’s „A Midsummer Night’s Dream“, her final production at Yale. She spent the summer of 1975 with the National Playwrights Conference of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and performed in a string of newly produced plays. In New York, she got her first professional engagement in a Lincoln Center Theater production of Arthur Wing Pinero’s „Trelawny of the Wells“, starring Mary Beth Hurt. For her performance of Imogen Parrot, Meryl Streep received a Drama Desk Award nomination.

October 15, 1975 - November 23, 1975
July 31, 1975
February 20, 1975
Nov 29
2020
Public Appearances
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Starting her final year at Yale, the drama department put Meryl Streep in a staggering 13 productions at the Yale Rep and the Yale Cabaret. In the season’s first half, her performances ranged from Irish drama – Sean O’Casey’s “Cock-a-doodle-Dandy” – a French brothel fantasy – Genet’s „The Balcony“ to Shakespeare’s classic „Much Ado About Nothing“ as Beatrice.

February 21-28, 1974