Meryl Streep was on a mission. It was December 2003, and she was helping New York Women in Film & Television get out of a really tight corner. Just about Christmastime each year, NYWIFT throws a glitzy holiday luncheon for about 1,000 showbiz hobnobbers. It's a major fundraiser that gives the association much-needed money to advocate on behalf of women in the entertainment industry, recognize their achievements and help them develop their careers.
Problem was, one of NYWIFT's celebrity honorees, Emma Thompson, couldn't make it. She was blazingly sick and stuck in England. NYWIFT counts on the winners of its Muse awards, like Thompson, to pack in the crowd and keep them coming back year after year during the luncheon. Meryl, who had been a Muse honoree in 1983, agreed to accept the award on Thompson's behalf. But she was stuck in traffic. There was no way her limo would make it to the New York Hilton in time for the acceptance speech. And the crew of NYWIFT women keeping tabs on her progress back at the Hilton were starting to panic.
In a move that shows what kind of moxy she's made of, Meryl hopped out of the car and disappeared into the subway. One can only wonder what all the New Yorkers who saw her thought. Really famous celebrities in the subway aren't a common sight, and when they do descend into the gritty atmosphere, they tend to play down their appearance. But Meryl had to be all dolled up, dressed if not to the nines, to something close to that number.