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Helen Mirren
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Also known as:Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironoff, Helen Lydia Mironoff, Dame Helen Lydia Mirren, DBE
Occupation:Actor • Voice Cast
Born:July 26, 1945
Birthplace:Chiswick, United Kingdom
Spouse:Taylor Hackford
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About
Helen Mirren is an English actor who has wowed people the world over with her acting prowess. She is known for her strong onscreen presence and electric performances. She kicked off her career with Herostratus (1968) and then went on to act in Shakespearean adaptations like Hamlet (1976) and The Tempest (2010). She has won multiple awards for her acting performances on the big screen, as well as TV roles and her stage performances. Some of her prominent movies include Cal (1984), 2010 (1984) a sequel to Stanley Kubrick`s 1968 sci-fi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), The Madness of King George (1994), Gosford Park (2001) and The Last Station (2009). In 2016, she was seen in Collateral Beauty (2016), while her 2017 projects include Fast 8 (2017).

Early Life
Mirren was born as Ilyena Mironoff on 26th July, 1945 to Kathleen "Kitty" Alexandrina Eva Matilda and Vasily Petrovich Mironoff. Although she was born in England, she had Russian roots.Mirren`s mother had three children, of whom Katherine was the eldest and Peter Basil the youngest. Helen was born three years after her elder sister Katherine. They spent their childhood in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. When Mirren was still in primary school at Westcliff-on-Sea, she took on the lead role in the school play of Hansel and Gretel. Even at St. Bernard`s High School for Girls located in Southend-on-Sea Mirren was part of most of the school productions. She attended the teaching college in London, the New College of Speech and Drama to please her parents. But soon her childhood dream of being an actress took wings and she auditioned for the National Youth Theatre. She was accepted and one of her first stage roles was of Cleopatra in the NYT production of Antony and Cleopatra. At the age of eighteen, she was noticed by agent Al Parker that led to her signing a contract with him.

Personal Life
Helen has lived with director Taylor Hackford in Los Angeles since 1986 when he directed her in White Nights (1985). As a young woman, Mirren had vowed never to marry but eventually they married in 1997. On June 14th, 2003, Mirren became Dame Helen, when she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen`s Birthday Honours. She is also an Associate Member of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA).

Television Career
Mirren`s first TV appearance was in a miniseries called Cousin Bette (1971). She acted in TV movies like The Philanthropist (1975) and Caesar and Claretta (1975). Her next TV performance was in the 1978 Shakespearean adaptation of As You Like It. It was a TV movie and Helen earned praises for her role as Rosalind. She was also part of two episodes of the long-running BBC TV anthology Play for Today. The first episode with Mirren starring was Blue Remembered Hills (1979). Her second and final appearance on the show was in the 1982 episode named Soft Targets.

Apart from this, she was seen in the 1985 revival of the television hit show, The Twilight Zone. Mirren acted in the ninth episode of the first season, Dead Woman`s Shoes. Mirren won accolades for her role as DCI Jane Tennison on the hit TV show Prime Suspect (1991), one of the first female Detective Chief Inspectors in Greater London`s Metropolitan Police Service. She won multiple awards for her role and the TV show ran for seven seasons. She won an Emmy for her portrayal of Ayn Rand in the 1999 TV movie The Passion of Ayn Rand. Door to Door (2002) and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (2003) also featured Mirren in made for television movies. The 2005 miniseries Elizabeth I had Mirren play the titular role and she won the Emmy Award for it. She also hosted the Saturday Night Live in 2011. In The Audience (2013), Mirren was back as Queen Elizabeth II. The same year she was featured alongside acting heavyweight Al Pacino in the biographical/crime/drama Phil Spector.

Stage Career
Mirren`s performances at the National Youth Theatre led to her being invited by the Royal Shakespeare Company to join them. Her first break was in Trevor Nunn`s 1966 stage play The Revenger`s Tragedy, where she played Castiza. She followed that up with All`s Well That Ends Well (1967), Cressida in Troilus and Cressida (1968), Rosalind in As You Like It (1968), Julia in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1970) and Tatiana in Gorky`s Enemies (1971) at the Aldwych. She landed the title role in Miss Julie (1971) at The Other Place. Braham Murray directed Mirren in four productions for the Century Theatre in Manchester. Mirren made her Broadway debut in Turgenev`s A Month in the Country in 1995.

Movie Career
Mirren made her debut in 1968 in the mediocre Herostratus. The same year she got noticed when she was part of the ensemble cast of the Peter Hall movie A Midsummer Night`s Dream. She was next cast in Michael Powell`s Age of Consent (1969). She followed that up with Robert Altman`s neo-noir film The Long Goodbye (1973), a cameo in O Lucky Man! (1973), and played the role of Ophelia and Gertrude in Hamlet (1976). The mainstream pornographic drama Caligula (1977) earned a bad name for Mirren and several others associated with the movie. But years later the movie is considered a cult classic and the Roman historical drama is appreciated for its political content.

In Excalibur (1981), Mirren played the role of Miranda, the powerful sorceress. Cal (1984) had her as an older woman who is in love with a younger man, which earned her a Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. In the 1986 movie The Mosquito Coast, she starred alongside Harrison Ford. In the 1988 spy movie Pascali`s Island, Mirren co-starred with Ben Kingsley. Mirren was more than willing to push conventional standards of acting roles and she demonstrated that with The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989), which is known for its insanely brilliant storyline and is considered a cult movie.

Where Angels Fear to Tread (1991) featured a storyline much similar to Cal, the only constant being Mirren and her exceptional powers of seduction on men. In 1996, she received widespread acclaim for her work in Some Mother`s Son, a story based on true events that happened in Maze Prison, Northern Ireland. She played the mother of a Belfast prison prisoner who supports the hunger strike with several others. Right after her marriage to Taylor Hackford in 1997, she went on to voice the Queen in the Disney animated film The Prince of Egypt (1998). In the 1999 comedy farce Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Mirren played the titular character which was the only saving grace for the audience.

Mirren turned to comedy in the new millennium with Greenfingers (2000) and No Such Thing (2001). She turned to crime and drama in 2001 with movies such as The Pledge, Last Orders, and Gosford Park. Mirren was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for her performance in the Robert Altman directed Gosford Park. Calendar Girls (2003) featured a quirkier Mirren, with the movie becoming a box-office sleeper-hit. She also starred alongside Robert Redford and Willem Dafoe in the 2004 thriller The Clearing, and in the same year, she acted in the romantic comedy Raising Helen.

Mirren won rave reviews for her role as an assassin who is diagnosed with terminal cancer in Shadowboxer (2005). Mirren`s upbringing, according to her, was always "very anti-monarchist". That was quite surprising considering she starred as Queen Elizabeth II in the Stephen Frears directed movie The Queen (2006). She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role. Previously, she had enacted the titular role in the TV miniseries Elizabeth I (2005). Mirren played Nicolas Cage`s mother in the blockbuster sequel to National Treasure (2004) titled National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007). The Last Station (2009), Mirren starred opposite Christopher Plummer as the wife of the dying Leo Tolstoy. She earned several award nominations for her role in the movie. In the 2010 espionage thriller The Debt, Mirren was cast as a former Mossad agent.

In the comedy/action movie RED (2010), Mirren starred alongside industry heavyweights Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman, as secret agents who are forced out of retirement. In the big-screen adaptation of the Shakespearean play The Tempest (2010), she played the lead role of Prospera, a role synonymous with male artists until then. In 2011, she starred in the remake of Arthur alongside British comedian Russell Brand. In Hitchcock (2012), Mirren played the role of Alfred Hitchcock`s wife, Alma Reville. She also starred in the sequel to RED (2010), RED 2 (2013). In Lasse Hallstrom`s The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) Mirren starred as Madame Mallory, who gets into a professional standoff with an Indian family as restaurateurs in France. Gavin Hood directed Eye in the Sky (2015) with Mirren starring as Colonel Katherine Powell. The movie dealt with moral and political implications of modern warfare. Mirren also starred with Bryan Cranston in the biographical drama Trumbo (2015). Mirren portrayed Hedda Hopper, the famous gossip columnist in the movie. In 2016, she was seen in Collateral Beauty (2016), while her 2017 projects include Fast And Furious 8 (2017). Her 2019 releases include Anna, Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw and The Good Liar.

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Did You Know? (5)

  • In a GQ interview in 2008, Mirren stated she had been date raped as a student.
  • Helen Mirren used to take cocaine when she was younger.
  • Mirren and actor Liam Neeson lived together during the early 1980s when Excalibur (1981) was being shot.
  • Mirren was listed by the Guardian as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s in March 2013.
  • Mirren featured in the 'Womanism' campaign by Marks & Spencer's along with several other British women from various fields.
  • Personal Quotes (5)

  • ""Women have got to stop being polite. If I ever had children, which I won`t, the first thing I`d teach a girl of mine is the words `f - off.`""
  • "“I am quite spiritual. I believed in fairies when I was a child. I still do sort of believe in the fairies. And the leprechauns. But I don't believe in God.”"
  • "“I do believe in naturism and am my happiest on a nude beach with people of all ages and races!”"
  • "“I loathe, I hate, chick flicks.”"
  • "“Actors are rogues and vagabonds. Or they ought to be.”"
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