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Elite arts group makes Meryl Streep a lifetime member

April 12, 2010 | 10:33 am

Meryl-reading Somebody had better start inventing more honors, because Meryl Streep is going to have all of them soon. 

Still, even she was moved Monday upon receiving honorary membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an elite honor society of 250 architects, composers, artists and writers. 

"I have to say that I was stunned, and when they sent me the roster of people in the academy I just burst into tears," Streep told the Associated Press. "I couldn't believe that I'd be even allowed in the kitchen."

According to the academy, getting in "is considered the highest formal recognition of artistic merit in the United States." The group aims to foster and sustain interest in literature, music and fine arts through various means of promoting individual artists and authors and their works. 

Streep and conductor James Levine were elected to a special membership category for "Americans of great distinction in the arts whose work falls outside the traditional departments" included in the society.

Membership in the group is for life; new members are sought "as vacancies occur."

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Meryl Streep at a play-reading in New York last month. Credit: Marc Bryan-Brown / The Daily Beast.