During her November 15 speech at the International Press Freedom Awards ceremony for the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization promoting press freedom worldwide, Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep recalled an incident in which legendary musical diva Cher saw Streep fight off a man who was attacking a woman. Cher and Meryl Streep — legendary actresses fighting crime!
The Cher and Meryl Streep story
Though Streep did not say when exactly the attack occurred, it’s worth noting that she starred alongside Cher in the 1984 drama Silkwood. In the film, Cher played as Streep’s lesbian friend. It was one of Cher’s first dramatic film roles.
In the speech, Streep said:
I am not a naturally brave person — I think standing up in front of a thousand people who are smarter than I am, and presuming to tell them, well, anything, is nauseating and I would rather just go home and watch Rachel. But I do know something about real terror.
The two times in my life when I was threatened, and dealt with real physical violence, I learned something about life I wouldn’t have known otherwise and I was lucky because my instincts served me well. In one instance, I played dead and waited until the blows stopped — watching like people say you do from about 50 feet above from where I was beaten.
And in the second instance, someone else was being abused and I just went completely nuts and went after this man. Ask Cher — she was there. And the thug ran away, it was a miracle. [I was] changed by these events on a cellular level because women do know something particular about coming to the danger place. We come to it disadvantaged through the many millennia preceding our present moment and because of our vulnerability, we anticipate danger, we expect it, we’re hyper alert to it.
Here is Streep’s speech to the Committee to Protect Journalists:
Streep’s speech preceded the presentation of the 2017 International Press Freedom Award to Mexican journalist Patricia Mayorga whose reporting on forced disappearances of indigenous people in Mexico, and alleged links between the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and organized crime gained her death threats. If you want to see Mayorga’s acceptance speech, head here.
Among her many renowned roles, Streep is especially beloved among gay viewers for her roles as a withering fashion magazine editor in the 2007 dramedy The Devil Wears Prada, a vain woman desperate to maintain her good looks in the macabre 1992 comedy Death Becomes Her and playing Carrie Fisher’s semi-autobiographical character in the 1991 movie Postcards from the Edge.
Streep spoke at the International Press Freedom Awards because in her new film The Post, she plays Katharine Graham, the publisher of The Washington Post. Graham oversaw the paper during its most famous period: the Watergate coverage that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
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