As one of the greatest actresses of all time, the legendary Meryl Streep‘s filmography is miles long. However, some of her most sensational performances have been her portrayals of real-life figures. From the opera singer who couldn’t carry a tune in Florence Foster Jenkins to Prime Minister Margaret Tatcher in The Iron Lady, here are all of the times Meryl Streep played a real-life person in film.
As Karen Silkwood in Silkwood (1983)
In Silkwood, Meryl Streep portrays Karen Silkwood, a woman working at a nuclear plant who after being concerned for the safety of workers at the plant, begins raising awareness about safety violations that could potentially put the workers at risk. During her investigation, Silkwood also discovers that she has been exposed to high levels of radiation. Streep stars along with Kurt Russell and Cher.
As Karen Blixen in Out of Africa (1985)
Based on Karen Blixen's autobiographical novel Out of Africa, Meryl Streep stars as the aristocratic Blixen who follows her husband to Africa. After discovering that her husband has been unfaithful, Blixen begins falling for a hunter named Denys (Robert Redford) despite the major differences in the pairs lifestyles.
As Lindy Chamberlin in A Cry in the Dark (1988)
Based on the infamous "Dingo's Got My Baby" case out of Australia in 1980, Streep plays Lindy Chamberlin the wife of a Seventh Day Adventist priest who while on a vacation in the Australian outback, discovers that her baby is missing from the the family's tent. Lindy claims that she saw a Dingo leaving the tent with something in its mouth. Though evidence supported the Chamberlins' claims initially, negative media coverage and a firestorm of rumors caused the public to believe the couple murdered their infant daughter.
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As Suzanne Vale (Carrie Fisher) in Postcards From the Edge (1990)
Based on semi-autobiographical novel by Carrie Fisher, Postcards From the Edge stars Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine as fictionalized versions of Fisher and her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds. After leaving rehab, Susanne Vale goes to stay with her mother who also struggles with alcoholism. Vale struggles to maintain both her sobriety and her sanity under these conditions.
As Susan Orlean in Adaptation (2002)
In Adaptation, Nicolas Cage stars as Charlie Kaufman, a LA screenwriter who is struggling to adapt Susan Orlean's The Orchard Thief for film. Streep stars as Orlean. The film depicts the parallels between the events in The Orchard Thief and Kaufman's life.
As Julia Child in Julie & Julia (2009)
In Julie & Julia, Streep steps into the shoes of legendary chef Julia Child. Juxtaposed against the early days of Child's early culinary career in France, Amy Adams plays Julie Powell a young New Yorker who vows to prepare all 524 recipes in Julia Child's landmark cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year's time.
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As Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011)
Based on the life of businesswoman and politician Margaret Thatcher, the longest-serving Prime Minister of the U.K. during the 20th century, The Iron Lady follows Tatcher's humble beginnings and ultimate rise to power. Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for her portrayal.
As Emmeline Pankhurst in Suffragette (2015)
Based on the lives of 20th century women's rights activist, Meryl Streep stars as Emmeline Pankhurst, an activist who galvanizes working women, wives and mothers to advocate for the right to vote. Faced with continued police action, the women band together risking everything to fight for their rights.
As Florence Foster Jenkins in Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)
In Florence Foster Jenkins, Meryl Streep stars as the titular character, a New York socialite in the 1940's who despite her ghastly singing voice, dreams of becoming a world renowned opera singer. Her doting husband St. Clair (Hugh Grant) goes to great lengths to make sure Florence never finds out how terrible her voice really is. That is until she announces that her plans for a concert at Carnegie Hall.