The Education of Meryl Streep
What does it takes to become “one of Hollywood’s most overrated actresses” in the words of Donald Trump? Perhaps winning 3 Oscars and being nominated for about a dozen more, not to mention the 30 Golden Globe nominations and 8 awards, a Cannes Film Festival award… You get the idea – the list just goes on and on.
So, what about education? According to Streep herself, her mum – whom she often compares to Dame Judy Dench – was the most important teacher in her life. She always told Streep that anything is possible as long as she applies herself and doesn’t slack. The Oscar-winning actress seems to have stuck to this advice throughout her life and career. Even as an adult, she would often consult her mother when she needed a boost of positivity and confidence.
Meryl Streep started off at Bernard’s High School – a public [state] school in New Jersey, where she was noted for her wide-ranging talents. She acted in many school plays and was even selected to sing at a classical music concert at the age of 12. However, even then Meryl Streep was reluctant to singing something she had no connection with. Throughout her career, she would only accept those roles she identified with.
Vassar College, where Streep completed her undergraduate studies
After graduating from High School, the future star enrolled at Vassar College – a prestigious liberal arts college in New York State, part of the Seven Sisters schools. There she was praised for an incredible ability to imitate accents and memorise her lines with ease. Streep received her BA cum laude in 1971.
Chapel at Yale University, where Meryl Streep got an MFA in Acting
Not satisfied with the already impressive academic credentials, Streep enrolled on an MFA programme at Yale University School of Drama. While there, she had to work odd jobs to finance her education. She also appeared in over ten productions per year, becoming so overworked that she actually thought of quitting acting. Luckily for us and unluckily for Donald Trump, she stuck with it. Also, her Yale days were not all doom and gloom since she met and collaborated with now-famous playwrights like Albert Innaurato and Robert Durang.
One thing we can safely say, great education or not – Meryl Streep has an inborn talent for acting. Something Clinton J Atkinson, the Drama Professor at Vassar College recognised when he said: “I don’t think anyone ever taught Meryl acting. She really taught herself”. She did, however, go places renowned for their ability to refine talent.
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