Directors, actors and playwrights turned out to laud Meryl Streep as she was presented with a Monte Cristo Award in recognition of her outstanding career at a ceremony in New York City on Monday (21Apr14). The multiple Oscar winner became the 14th recipient of the honour at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, the stage company where she started her professional career in the 1970s after graduating from Yale University. Among the speakers who turned out to share their memories of working with Streep were Doubt director John Patrick Shanley, Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner and August: Osage County playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts. Streep's The Deer Hunter co-star Joe Grifasi also took to the stage, remembering how the actress had shared her dream to have a husband and four kids during a day at the beach in between shooting the 1978 movie. She went on to wed sculptor Don Gummer and have three daughters and a son. The Sophie's Choice star concluded the evening by making her own speech, saying, "I feel like I'm at the funeral, so I'm really happy! You usually don't get to be there. "I just think being an artist is the opportunity to learn all your life, just to soak everything up. Everybody here tonight, I'm gonna use this stuff in the future! And thank you (to Don) for those four children that I dreamed of on the beach that day. He came along, thank God!" Past recipients include Christopher Plummer, Michael Douglas, James Earl Jones and Kevin Spacey.