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THE HOURS

MERYL STREEP (Clarissa Vaughan), a two-time Academy Award, winner and a recipient of twelve Oscar, nominations, recently completed filming "Adaptation" starring opposite Nicolas Cage. Spike Jonze directed this much-anticipated follow-up to "Being John Malkovich."

Born and raised in New Jersey, Streep began acting at Vassar, where she won the title role in the first college production for which she auditioned. An honors exchange program also allowed her to study in the drama department at Dartmouth. After graduating from Vassar, she attended the renowned Yale Drama School. She appeared in six of the seven plays presented annually by the Yale Repertory Company, earning a Masters of Fine Arts degree in 1975.

After a summer with the O'Neill Playwrights Conference in Connecticut, Streep moved to New York City and landed the ingenue lead in Joseph Papp's Lincoln Center production of "Trelawney of the Wells," delivering a powerful performance that stunned the critics. Before long, she received an Outer Critics' Circle Award, a Theater World Award and a Tony nomination for playing two different characters in a Phoenix Theater double bill of Arthur Miller's "A Memory of Two Mondays" and Tennessee Williams' "27 Wagons Full of Cotton."

Streep performed in no less than seven plays during her first season in New York, including the New York Shakespeare Festival productions of "Henry V" as Catherine and "Measure for Measure" as Isabella. She then starred on Broadway in Kurt Weill's "Happy End" and won an Obie for her performance in the off-Broadway production, "Alice at the Palace." During this period, Streep also won an Emmy for her portrayal of a devastated German wife in the miniseries "Holocaust," and made her feature film debut as Jane Fonda's snooty society friend in Fred Zinneman's "Julia."

In her second screen role, Streep appeared opposite Robert De Niro in Michael Cimino's "The Deer Hunter," receiving her first Oscar, nomination for her portrayal of a working-class Pennsylvania girl whose lonely, smalltown life is irrevocably altered by the Vietnam war.

Streep returned to the stage to play Katherine in "The Taming of the Shrew" opposite Raul Julia for Joseph Papp's Public Theater. After appearing in Woody Allen's "Manhattan" and Jerry Schatzberg's "The Seduction of Joe Tynan," Streep rounded out the year as Dustin Hoffman's troubled former wife in Robert Benton's acclaimed "Kramer vs. Kramer," for which she won an Academy Award, as Best Supporting Actress.

Since that time, Streep has worked with most of the film industry's top directors, including Karel Reisz ("The French Lieutenant's Woman"), Mike Nichols ("Silkwood," "Heartburn" and "Postcards From the Edge"), Alan I. Pakula ("Sophie's Choice"), Fred Schepisi ("A Cry in the Dark" and "Plenty"), Robert Zemeckis ("Death Becomes Her"), Curtis Hanson ("The River Wild"), Hector Babenco ("Ironweed"), Sydney Pollack ("Out of Africa"), Albert Brooks ("Defending Your Life") and Bille August ("The House of the Spirits").

In recent years, Streep has played such diverse cha

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