Helen Mirren, born Helen Mironov of Russian-English parentage, is one of
the best-known and most-respected actresses in Britain and America. In a career
that spans stage, screen and television, she has become renowned for tackling
challenging roles and has won many awards for her powerful and versatile
She began her career with the National Youth Theatre in 1965 in a performance
that resulted in her discovery. Two years later she was invited to join the
Royal Shakespeare Company and starred in a number of highly regarded
productions. In 1972 she joined renowned director Peter Brook's Theatre Company
and toured the world.
Her film career began in the late 1960s with Michael Powell's Age of
Consent, but her breakthrough role was in John Mackenzie's The Long Good
Friday. Her performance saw critics hailing a major new screen star. She
earned her first Academy Award nomination for her performance in The Madness
of King George and her second for her role in Gosford Park. She was
nominated for a Golden Globe for Calendar Girls. Her most recent and
celebrated role was as Elizabeth II in The Queen, for which she won a
Golden Globe, a BAFTA and an Academy Award as Best Actress.
In the early 1990s, Helen starred in the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning television
series Prime Suspect, in which she starred as Detective Chief Inspector
Jane Tennison. The final Prime Suspect was released in 2006, bringing
this iconic role to its conclusion, and she was nominated for a Golden Globe for
Best Actress. Her television roles have won her a string of awards, most
recently in 2006, for her performance as Elizabeth I, for which she won a Golden
Globe and an Emmy for Best Actress.
Helen Mirren is married to the American film director Taylor Hackford. She
became a Dame of the British Empire in 2003.