If Meryl Streep -- one of the most celebrated actresses in history -- had been right about the future of her career after age 40, the world would have missed out on seeing the Oscar winner play a variety of roles in standout films like "The Bridges of Madison County," "The Devil Wears Prada," and "Doubt." When Streep turned the big 4-0 in 1989, she tells Vogue in its January issue, "I remember turning to my husband and saying, 'Well, what should we do? Because it's over.' " Lucky for us, she was wrong.
Now more than two decades later, at age 62, the actress is marking another milestone, her first Vogue cover. In the photo, Streep -- who happened to portray the demanding and demeaning fashion editor in "The Devil Wears Prada" widely believed to be based on real-life Vogue editor Anna Wintour -- looks just as glamorous as women half her age. Which brings us to another faulty assumption Streep made after fielding offers to play three different witch roles in three different movies at the age of 41. The experience, she says, made her feel as if "once women passed childbearing age they could only be seen as grotesque on some level."
Fortunately, times have changed, and Streep is still playing an amazingly broad spectrum of roles, including former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher -- from ages 49 to 85 -- in the upcoming biopic "The Iron Lady," which is already generating Oscar buzz for Streep … yet again.
But what is, perhaps, more impressive to Streep than playing one of the most powerful women in the world was playing a bakery owner -- the leading lady in the 2009 comedy "It's Complicated" -- opposite Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. "In the period of 'Silkwood,' ['It's Complicated'] could never have been made, with a 60-year-old actress deciding between her ex-husband and another man. With a 40-year-old actress it would never have been made."