Helen Mirren

Actor

Born: 26 July 1945
Birthplace: London, England
Best known as: Oscar-winning star of the 2006 movie The Queen

Name at birth: Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov

Helen Mirren is a sophisticated star of stage and screen who became an international TV star as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison in the British series Prime Suspect. In the late 1960s and early '70s Mirren built a reputation as a sexy and serious actress in both Shakespearean and experimental theater. In television and films she appeared mostly in dramas, turning in reliable performances but having few box office hits. Mirren's career got hotter as she matured, and in the '80s she turned in memorable performances in The Long Good Friday (1980), Excalibur (1981), The Mosquito Coast (1986, with Harrison Ford and River Phoenix) and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989). She received Oscar nominations for The Madness of King George (1994) and Gosford Park (2001), but it was her turn as an aggressive British cop in the mini-series Prime Suspect (1991) that earned her widespread recognition and, in 1996, an Emmy award.

A smart leading lady known for uninhibited sexuality on screen, she has appeared in seven Prime Suspect projects and in the American TV movies Door to Door (2002, with William H. Macy) and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (2003, with Anne Bancroft). Mirren also won Emmys for playing Ayn Rand in 1999's The Passion of Ayn Rand and Queen Elizabeth I in 2005's Elizabeth I. Her other feature films include Calendar Girls (2003) and The Clearing (2004, with Willem Dafoe). In 2007 she won the Academy Award as best actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 movie The Queen.

Extra credit: Mirren married her longtime companion, filmmaker Taylor Hackford, in 1997... In 2003 she was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire.

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