Dame Helen Mirren
HELEN MIRREN has won international recognition for her work on stage, screen, and television. For her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in 2006 in The Queen, she received an Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award, and BAFTA Award for Best Actress. She was also named Best Actress by virtually every critics’ organization from Los Angeles to London.
On the small screen, Mirren was also honored for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in the HBO miniseries Elizabeth I, winning an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe, and a SAG Award.
Most recently, Mirren earned both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her performance in the historical drama The Last Station, playing Sofya Tolstoy.
This spring Mirren stars in a remake of the classic comedy Arthur. In a gender twist, she stars in the original butler role, reinvented as Arthur’s long-time nanny. In August Mirren will star in The Debt, where she plays a Mossad agent in the John Madden-directed thriller.
Last year, Mirren starred as a retired assassin in Summit’s Golden Globe nominated RED, based on the DC comic of the same name. She also voiced Nyra in Zack Snyder’s animated film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. Most recently she starred in Julie Taymor’s big screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as Prospera in a gender twist on the classic character. She also starred in husband Taylor Hackford’s Love Ranch, a film inspired by the story behind the first legalized brothel in Nevada.
Mirren has two films awaiting release: The Door, directed by Istvan Szabo, the renowned Hungarian director; and Brighton Rock, written and directed by Rowan Joffe and based on the novel by Graham Greene.
Mirren began her career in the role of Cleopatra at the National Youth Theatre. She then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she starred in such productions as Troilus and Cressida and Macbeth. In 1972, she joined renowned director Peter Brook’s theater company and toured the world.
Her film career began with Michael Powell’s Age of Consent, but her breakthrough film role came in 1980 in John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday. Over the next ten years, she starred in a wide range of acclaimed films, including John Boorman’s Excalibur; Neil Jordan’s Irish thriller Cal, for which she won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival and an Evening Standard Film Award; Peter Weir’s The Mosquito Coast; Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover; and Charles Sturridge’s Where Angels Fear to Tread.
Mirren earned her first Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Queen Charlotte in Nicholas Hytner’s The Madness of King George, for which she also won Best Actress honors at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Her second Oscar nomination came for her work in Robert Altman’s 2001 film Gosford Park. Her performance as the housekeeper in that film also brought her Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations, several critics groups’ awards, and dual SAG Awards, one for Best Supporting Actress and a second as part of the winning ensemble cast.
Among her other film credits are Terry George’s Some Mother’s Son, on which she also served as associate producer; Calendar Girls, for which she got a Golden Globe nomination; The Clearing; Shadowboxer; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Inkheart; and State of Play.
On television, Mirren starred in the award-winning series Prime Suspect as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison. She had earned an Emmy Award and three BAFTA Awards, as well as numerous award nominations, for her role in early installments of the Prime Suspect series. She won another Emmy Award and earned a Golden Globe nomination when she reprised the role of Detective Jane Tennison in 2006’s Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act, the last installment in the PBS series.
Her long list of television credits also includes Losing Chase, for which she won a Golden Globe Award; The Passion of Ayn Rand, winning an Emmy and earning a Golden Globe nomination; Door to Door, for which she received Golden Globe, Emmy, and SAG Award nominations; and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, earning Golden Globe, Emmy, and SAG Award nominations.
Mirren has also worked extensively in the theater. She has received two Tony Award nominations, the first for her work in A Month in the Country, and another for her role opposite Sir Ian McKellen in Dance of Death. She also received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in Mourning Becomes Electra at London’s National Theatre. In 2009, Mirren returned to the National Theatre to star in the title role in Phèdre, directed by Nicholas Hytner.
Helen Mirren became a Dame of the British Empire in 2003.