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Streep voices admiration for "Iron Lady" she played in film

This is an undated film image provided on Feb.1, 2011 by The Weinstein Company, Meryl Streep as she portrays Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Alex Bailey, File)

LONDON: Actress Meryl Streep, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the 2011 film "The Iron Lady", praised the former British prime minister on Monday as a pioneer for the role of women in politics.

Britain's first and only female political leader died on Monday, aged 87, after suffering a stroke.

Streep, 63, described Thatcher as a trailblazer, "willingly or unwillingly", for female political leaders. "To me she was a figure of awe for her personal strength and grit," the American actress said in a statement.

"To have given women and girls around the world reason to supplant fantasies of being princesses with a different dream: the real-life option of leading their nation; this was groundbreaking and admirable."

Streep paid tribute to Thatcher for rising to the position of prime minister from her upbringing as a grocer's daughter on the back of her own hard work.

The multi-Oscar-winning actress acknowledged that the right-wing Thatcher divided opinion. But Streep said Thatcher deserved credit for standing by her convictions despite the "special hatred and ridicule, unprecedented in my opinion, levelled in our time at a public figure who was not a mass murderer".

Streep said she was honoured to try to imagine Thatcher's late life journey in playing her in "Iron Lady" but only really had a "glancing understanding" of Thatcher's struggles.

"I wish to convey my respectful condolences to her family and many friends," she said.

 

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