It should come as no surprise that Meryl Streep is earning rave reviews for her astonishingly accurate turn as America's Grand Dame of haute cuisine, Julia Child, in the new film "Julie & Julia." But she's just the latest actress to garner acclaim for portraying a real woman whose strength and determination made headlines and sometimes history. Click ahead for photos of some of these real-life heroines next to the actresses who brought them to life on screen.
JUNE CARTER CASH -- Country Star / Long-Suffering Wife of Johnny Cash
Played by: Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line (2005)
Since June Carter Cash died before production of this movie began, part of Reese Witherspoon's research for her Oscar-winning turn as the country music legend included looking through the singer's closet.
MARIANE PEARL -- Journalist / Wife of Murdered Reporter Daniel Pearl
Played by: Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart (2007)
Angelina Jolie and Mariane Pearl befriended each other years before this movie came out. They even had play dates together with their respective babies. Jolie has also donated $100,000 to the Daniel Pearl Foundation in memory of Mariane's late husband.
KATHARINE HEPBURN -- Hollywood Icon
Played by: Cate Blanchett in The Aviator (2004)
Cate Blanchett had hundred of freckles painted onto her arms, chest and face to resemble the famously freckled movie legend. Blanchett is the only person to win an Oscar for playing someone who also won an Oscar.
TINA TURNER -- Soul Diva
Played by: Angela Bassett in What's Love Got To Do With It (1993)
When George W. Bush bestowed a Kennedy Center Honor to Tina Turner in 2005, he praised her courage, her talent, and her legs. Angela Bassett's role as Turner was ranked at #93 on Premiere Magazine's "100 Greatest Film Performances."
ERIN BROCKOVICH -- Single Mom / Legal Researcher Extraordinaire
Played by: Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich (2000)
The real Erin Brockovich actually appears in this movie. Watch for her early in the film as a diner waitress bearing the name tag "Julia R."
VIRGINA WOOLF -- Troubled Author
Played by: Nicole Kidman in The Hours (2002)
Nicole Kidman is the third actor to win an Oscar for a performance involving a fake nose. Lee Marvin in "Cat Ballou" and Jose Ferrer in "Cyrano de Bergerac" also nabbed Oscar gold with the help of a facial prosthetic. Kidman reportedly liked her rubber snoz so much, she wore it after production to evade the paparazzi.
FRIDA KAHLO -- Troubled Artist
Played by: Salma Hayek in Frida (2002)
In 2006, Kahlo's 1943 painting "Roots" sold at auction for $5.6 million, a record for a Latin American work and more money than the movie about her life earned in its first three weeks of release.
EDITH PIAF -- Troubled Chanteuse
Played by: Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose (2007)
Cotillard was lavished with praise for her masterful work in "La Vie En Rose." She was not only the first woman to win both a Cesar (France's top movie prize) and an Oscar for the same role, but she's also the first actress to win an Academy Award for a foreign language performance since Sophia Loren's win in 1961 for "Two Women."
ELIZABETH II -- Queen of England
Played by: Helen Mirren in The Queen (2006)
Mirren has a lot of practice playing a British monarch. She played Queen Charlotte in "The Madness of King George" and the first Queen Elizabeth in the 2005 TV miniseries "Elizabeth I." All that practice paid off: she won an Oscar for her performance in this movie.
EVA PERON -- The Elected "Spiritual Leader of Argentina"
Played by: Madonna in Evita (1996)
Madonna's part in this adaptation of the popular Broadway musical had more costume changes -- 85 in total -- than any other part in movie history. She also only had 140 words of dialog. The rest was sung.
SELENA QUINTANILLA-PEREZ -- The Queen of Tejano Music
Played by: Jennifer Lopez in Selena (1997)
In preparation for her part as the slain Mexican-American singer, Jennifer Lopez actually lived with Selena's family for a spell. It helped that Selena's father was also executive producer of the movie.
LORETTA LYNN -- Country Music Superstar
Played by: Sissy Spacek in "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980)
Loretta Lynn hand-picked Sissy Spacek to play her in the biopic about her life. Spacek was initially hesitant to take on the role. She made her decision when she turned on the radio one day and "Coal Miner's Daughter" was playing, which she interpreted as a sign.
HELEN KELLER -- Deafblind Activist
Played by: Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker (1962)
Helen Keller was the first deafblind person ever to earn a Bachelor degree. Her intelligence and sheer determination made her a celebrity during her time. She met every president from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson, and counted Mark Twain, Alexander Graham Bell, and Charlie Chaplin as close friends.
DIAN FOSSEY -- Naturalist/Gorilla Researcher
Played by: Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist (1988)
After Sigourney Weaver made "Gorillas in the Mist," she became a vocal supporter of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, eventually becoming its Honorary Chair. Also on the Board of Trustees is Andy Serkis who played the giant ape in Peter Jackson's "King Kong."
AMELIA EARHART -- Aviation Pioneer
Played by: Hilary Swank in Amelia (2009)
Though this is movie doesn't come out until October, it will be the second film this year to feature the famed aviator. Amy Adams played her -- or, more precisely, a reanimated wax figure of her -- in "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian."