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Meryl Streep follows De Niro for 2004 AFI

Meryl Streep Follows De Niro in AFI Life Time Achievment tribute for 2004.

The actress has been selected by the American Film Institute's (AFI) Board of Trustees to receive the 32nd AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film, it was announced today by Sir Howard Stringer, Chair of the AFI Board of Trustees.

The award will be presented to Streep at a gala tribute on June 10, 2004, which will be held in the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland.

Mr. Stringer commented, "Meryl Streep is one of the great artists in the history of American film. Her talent, range and determination to master her craft bring out performances that sometimes border on the etheral. In that sense, she is truly peerless. It is AFI's great honor to present its Life Achievement Award to this truly gifted actor."

"Meryl Streep is the ultimate film artist -- for her generation and for all generations," said Jon Avnet, Chair, AFI Board of Directors and Co-Chair, AFI Life Achievement Nominating Committee [with Bob Daly].

USA Network will broadcast the 32nd AFI Life Achievement Award tribute in June 2004. Bob Gazzale, who served as Executive Producer of last year's AFI Tribute to Robert De Niro, will continue these duties again this year.

About Meryl Streep

Mary Louise Streep was born in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. After starring in numerous high school theatrical productions, Streep majored in drama at Vassar, followed by graduate work at the Yale School of Drama.

Streep went on to appear in a number of successful Broadway plays, garnering a Tony nomination for her performance in Tennessee Williams' 27 Wagons Full of Cotton.

Her screen debut came in 1977's JULIA, followed a year later by her first Academy Award nomination, for her portrayal of Linda in THE DEER HUNTER. Just one year later, Streep won her first Oscar, for Best Supporting Actress, as Dustin Hoffman's estranged wife in the 1979's KRAMER VS. KRAMER.

During subsequent leading roles, Streep quickly gained a reputation as a master at refining accents. But, more significantly, she excelled at portraying the people behind the voices. In SOPHIE'S CHOICE (1982), Streep brought to life a Polish Holocaust survivor with horrific memories. Her performance garnered a second Academy Award, this time for Best Actress. Four years previously, she had won an Emmy Award for her performance in television's landmark mini-series HOLOCAUST (1978).

Streep continued to accept challenging, disparate roles throughout the 1980s. Her compassionate portrayals of real-life women included Karen Silkwood, the nuclear plant worker who uncovered nefarious activity at her workplace in SILKWOOD (1983); Karen Blixen (aka author Isak Denisen), who found herself torn between two men and two countries in OUT OF AFRICA (1985); and Lindy Chamberlin, the Australian mother accused of murdering her own child in A CRY IN THE DARK (1988). Each of these performances, along with THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN and IRONWEED, were rewarded with Academy Award nominations.

In the 1990s, Streep turned to screen comedy with POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE (1990), DEFENDING YOUR LIFE (1991) and DEATH BECOMES HER (1992). Then she took on the action-adventure genre with THE RIVER WILD (1995). Also in 1995, Streep co-starred with Clint Eastwood in an adaptation of the best seller THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. In 1996, she starred in Barbet Schroeder's thriller BEFORE AND AFTER and in Jerry Zaks' MARVIN'S ROOM. Two more Academy Award nominations followed, for her performances as a dying mother in ONE TRUE THING (1998), and as a passionate music teacher in MUSIC OF THE HEART (1999).

In 2001, Streep lent her voice to Steven Spielberg's A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, a story of a highly advanced robotic boy who longs to become "real;" and next as the narrator for Sheila Curran Bernard's documentary miniseries SCHOOL, a history of the American public education system.

In 2002, Streep starred with Nicolas Cage in ADAPTATION, an account of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's attempt to adapt Susan Orlean's non-fiction book The Orchid Thief. She also co-starred with Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Toni Collette and Claire Danes in THE HOURS, a story of three women in different eras who are all profoundly affected by the works of Virginia Woolf.

This year Streep co-starred with Al Pacino, Emma Thompson and Mary-Louise Parker in HBO's adaptation of Tony Kushner's widely acclaimed stage play ANGELS IN AMERICA, directed by Mike Nichols.

Currently Streep is in production on Jonathan Demme's remake of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE with co-stars Denzel Washington, Julianne Moore and Liev Schreiber.

Streep continues to be an outspoken advocate for better roles and better pay for women in the film profession.

About the AFI Life Achievement Award

The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the AFI Board of Trustees on February 26, 1973. It is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI Board of Trustees:

"The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time."

In 1993, the trustees extended the criteria to encompass "individuals with active careers and work of significance yet to be accomplished."

AFI Life Achievement Recipients

Meryl Streep joins an esteemed group of individuals who have been chosen for this distinguished honor since its inception in 1973.

1973 John Ford
1974 James Cagney
1975 Orson Welles
1976 William Wyler
1977 Bette Davis
1978 Henry Fonda
1979 Alfred Hitchcock
1980 James Stewart
1981 Fred Astaire
1982 Frank Capra
1983 John Huston
1984 Lillian Gish
1985 Gene Kelley
1986 Billy Wilder
1987 Barbara Stanwyck
1988 Jack Lemmon
1989 Gregory Peck
1990 Sir David Lean
1991 Kirk Douglas
1992 Sidney Poitier
1993 Elizabeth Taylor
1994 Jack Nicholson
1995 Steven Spielberg
1996 Clint Eastwood
1997 Martin Scorsese
1998 Robert Wise
1999 Dustin Hoffman
2000 Harrison Ford
2001 Barbra Streisand
2002 Tom Hanks
2003 Robert De Niro

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