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Winona Ryder is dreading her upcoming 40th birthday - because she has been "warned" about reaching the milestone age throughout her Hollywood career.

The Edward Scissorhands star, who has been making movies since the 1980s, will celebrate the landmark next October (11).

But Ryder has long feared moving into her forties, because so many people told her it would mark a downturn in her career.

She tells GQ, "I'm at that age I've been warned my whole life about."

But the actress is determined to follow in the footsteps of her idol Meryl Streep, who has carved out a stellar career in her later years despite feeling abandoned by Hollywood in her late 30s.

She adds, "It's hard to imagine a time where Meryl Streep wasn't the first choice for everything, but I was reading some article, and she said something like, 'Yeah, when I was around 38, 39, I turned to my husband and said, 'Should we just call it a day, or should we try to kick the can down the road?'

"It was so weird to me to think about movies without her in them. But a lot of great actresses have chosen that."