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Meryl Streep

2017 Speaker

MERYL STREEP has portrayed an astonishing array of characters in a career that has cut its own unique path from the theater through film and television, for almost 40 years. Streep was educated in the New Jersey public school system through high school, graduated cum laude from Vassar College, and earned her MFA with honors from Yale University in 1975. She began her professional life on the New York stage, where she quickly established her signature versatility and verve as an actor. Within three years of graduation, she made her Broadway debut, won an Emmy (for Holocaust) and received her first Oscar nomination (for The Deer Hunter). She has won three Academy Awards and in 2017, in a record that is unsurpassed, she earned a 20th Academy Award nomination for her role in Florence Foster Jenkins. Her performance earned her the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress, and Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.

Streep has pursued her interest in the environment through her work with Mothers and Others, a consumer advocacy group that she co-founded in 1989. M&O worked for ten years to promote sustainable agriculture, establish new pesticide regulations, and ensure the availability of organic and sustainably grown local foods. She also lends her efforts to Women for Women International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Donor Direct Action, Women in the World Foundation and Partners in Health.

Streep is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and has been accorded a Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government and an honorary CĂ©sar. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, a 2008 honor from the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the 2010 National Medal of Arts from President Obama. In 2011, Streep received a Kennedy Center Honor, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She holds honorary doctorates from Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth, and Indiana Universities, the University Of New Hampshire, Lafayette, Middlebury, and the Barnard College medal. Her husband, artist Don Gummer, and she are the parents of a son and three daughters.