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 performances.
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.
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