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16. In 1976, she unsuccessfully auditioned for the lead role in famed film producer Dino De Laurentiis' remake of King Kong. As she stood before him, he turned to his son and said, in Italian, "This is so ugly. Why did you bring me this?" Streep understood Italian and responded to the man, telling him, "I'm very sorry that I'm not as beautiful as I should be, but, you know—this is it. This is what you get." The role of Dwan went, instead, to Jessica Lange in her first film role.
17. Streep received her first Tony nomination that same year for her work in a Broadway double bill of Tennessee Williams' 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Arthur Miller's A Memory of Two Mondays. She lost Best Featured Actress in a Play to Shirley Knight.
18. She landed her first film role in 1977's Julia, starring Jane Fonda. Her small role, existing during a flashback sequence, was mostly edited out and what remained left Streep horrified: "I had a bad wig and they took the words from the scene I shot with Jane and put them in my mouth in a different scene. I thought, 'I've made a terrible mistake, not more movies. I hate this business.'"
19. After seeing her in a stage production of The Cherry Orchard, De Niro wanted her for his upcoming film The Deer Hunter. Cazale was also cast in the film and, as he'd been diagnosed with lung cancer, she took the role of the girlfriend to remain by his side for the duration of filming.
20. Her work in the 1978 miniseries Holocaust landed Streep her first Emmy Award, for Outstanding lead Actress in a Miniseries of Movie.