Believe it or not, Mary Louise Streep was a relatively late boomer. The actress who became “Meryl” was nearly thirty when her screen career began with a small part in the movie “Julia” (1977). But it didn’t take her long to catch up. The following year she appeared in a larger role in “The Deer Hunter” (1978), for which she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.
 

That first nomination kicked open the door to a staggering eighteen further acknowledgements by Oscar, more than any other actor, and there may well be more to come. In fact, so assured is Streep’s presence during award season, there are now three, not two, certainties to life: death, taxes, and an Oscar nod for Meryl Streep. She’s already won three times and counting.
 
She's widely known as the queen of accents, a notoriety that's become a comedy staple. To date Streep has given dead-on renditions of  Polish, Danish, Australian, and British characters. She's even catured the singular timbre of television chef Julia Child. Film critic Roger Ebert said of Streep’s Polish accent in her Oscar-winning “Sophie’s Choice” (1983): “She has the first accent I’ve ever wanted to hug.”
 
But of course, her talents go way beyond her vocal chords. Streep acts with her eyes as much as with her voice. Her gaze can be hard or brightly comic, and she is a master of the sidelong look. And that face!
 
Even silent, Meryl Streep is a screen icon. Here, then, is our appreciation of perhaps the finest actress of her generation, which celebrates...that face!


Young Meryl, looking fresh, pure and clean, and with so much ahead of her.


All dressed up, with somewhere to go.


This star ain't too proud to hop the subway.


Just how many thousands of ships would this face launch?


Even a bad hair day can't diminish her radiance.


Meryl looking intensely seductive. A siren with brains and soul.


Royalty meets royalty.


At the 1980 Oscars. So many Oscar nights — and Oscars — to come.


Exuding a gypsy-like air, with flower in hair.


With Kevin Kline, while shooting "Sophie's Choice" (1982).


Winners: with Ben Kingsley at the 1983 Academy Awards.


Redford shampoos Streep on set of "Out Of Africa" (1985). Was that in his contract?


Don't close your eyes, Meryl!


 Why does the cute lady in the straw hat have to leave?


In the profile department, she gives Barrymore a run for his money.


 

A smile that makes you smile back...


Then, and now.