Name at birth: Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov
Helen Mirren is the sophisticated star of stage and screen who also became an international TV star as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison in the British series Prime Suspect. She has won Tony, Emmy and Oscar awards for her performances. In the late 1960s and early '70s, Helen 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), The Clearing (2004, with Willem Dafoe), the goofball spy comedies RED (2010) and RED 2 (2013), and (as Alma Reville, wife of Alfred Hitchcock) the 2012 film Hitchcock. In 2007 she won the Academy Award as best actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 movie The Queen. She again played Queen Elizabeth II, and was given the 2015 Tony Award as best actress in a drama, for The Audience, a play that imagined conversations between the queen and her prime ministers.
Helen 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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