Mary Louise Streep, eventually known to the world as Meryl, was born in 1949 in the unprepossessing town of Summit, New Jersey. Her unprepossessing parents, Mary and Harry, were, respectively, a commercial artist and a pharmaceutical executive. She was a fairly normal youth with a minor interest in performing. She appeared in school plays, sang at school recitals, and (somewhat against type) was even a cheerleader. At Vassar, she began to take acting seriously, and continued her studies and eventually earned an MFA at Yale School of Drama.

In a narrative sure to encourage any frustrated young thespians, Streep supplemented her acting with survival jobs. In addition to studying and performing at grad school, she waited tables and typed. At one point, she developed ulcers from the stress and she nearly quit to go to law school.


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