Born Mary Louise Streep in Summit, New Jersey, actress Meryl Streep is the daughter of pharmaceutical executive Harry Streep and Mary Streep, a commercial artist. Her parents encouraged their children to pursue arts and literature. Streep also has two younger brothers, Harry and Dana.
Streep's father comes from German and Swiss ancestry. His family line includes a former mayor of Loffenau, Germany.
Streep's mother, who is of English heritage, had a particularly strong influence on her daughter when she was growing up. The actress credits her mother with instilling her with the self-confidence that has enabled her to achieve her success.