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Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren

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Also Known As: Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironov, Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov, Dame Helen Mirren Died:
Born: July 26, 1945 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Chiswick, England, GB Profession: actor, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

which she played anti-communist gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. Mirren returned to television with a tongue in cheek role on the mockumentary series "Documentary Now!" (IFC 2015- ), playing herself as the host of a PBS-style series of great documentary films. y "Greenfingers" (2000), before making her directing debut with "Happy Birthday" (2001), a segment of the Showtime "Directed By" series, "On the Edge." Mirren had two of her best screen roles in 2001, playing the officious housekeeper of an English estate in Robert Altman's excellent upstairs-downstairs drama, "Gosford Park," then as the widow who refuses to accompany her deceased husband's friends as they go to spread his ashes in "Last Orders." The former brought the actress her second Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress.Mirren next starred in "Georgetown" (CBS, 2002), a well-regarded pilot in which she played a shrewd Washington hostess and newspaper mogul, described as a cross between publisher Katharine Graham and party hostess Pamela Harriman. Unfortunately, the series failed to make the cut for the fall season. Meanwhile, she enjoyed two standout turns in a pair of particularly high-quality television productions, "Door to...

which she played anti-communist gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. Mirren returned to television with a tongue in cheek role on the mockumentary series "Documentary Now!" (IFC 2015- ), playing herself as the host of a PBS-style series of great documentary films.

y "Greenfingers" (2000), before making her directing debut with "Happy Birthday" (2001), a segment of the Showtime "Directed By" series, "On the Edge." Mirren had two of her best screen roles in 2001, playing the officious housekeeper of an English estate in Robert Altman's excellent upstairs-downstairs drama, "Gosford Park," then as the widow who refuses to accompany her deceased husband's friends as they go to spread his ashes in "Last Orders." The former brought the actress her second Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress.

Mirren next starred in "Georgetown" (CBS, 2002), a well-regarded pilot in which she played a shrewd Washington hostess and newspaper mogul, described as a cross between publisher Katharine Graham and party hostess Pamela Harriman. Unfortunately, the series failed to make the cut for the fall season. Meanwhile, she enjoyed two standout turns in a pair of particularly high-quality television productions, "Door to Door" (2002), playing the mother of a mentally challenged salesman (William H. Macy), and "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" (2003), playing a failing star whose life is upended by the death of her husband while vacationing in Italy in the telepic inspired by Tennessee Williams' novella. The projects earned her a pair of 2003 Emmy nominations ¿ for Outstanding Supporting Actress and Outstanding Lead Actress, respectively ¿ as well as back-to-back Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Globe nominations as Best Actress in 2003 and 2004. Also in 2003, Mirren had the distinction of being named a Dame of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June of that year.

Back on the big screen, Mirren led the ensemble cast of the sprightly British comedy "Calendar Girls" (2003), inspired by the true story of the Rylstone Women's Institute in North Yorkshire, a group of everyday women who decided to pose nude for their annual calendar to raise funds for Leukemia research, inspiring sales that outdid even the sexiest of celebrity calendars. Her strong and sassy performance earned Mirren a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Mirren next appeared in a small, but scene-stealing role as Dominique, queenly head of a Manhattan modeling agency where Kate Hudson works in "Raising Helen" (2004).

All throughout the 1990s, Mirren continued to divide her time between the stage and screen, making her Broadway debut in "A Month in the Country" (1995), then returning to the London theater in "Collected Stories" (1999) and "Orpheus Descending" (2000). She returned to Broadway opposite Ian McKellen in "Dance of Death" (2001) and received a nomination for a Tony award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role the following year. She was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001 for Best Actress for "Orpheus Descending" at the Donmar Warehouse, while her London performance in 2003-04 as the murderous Christine Mannon in "Mourning Becomes Electra" earned a nomination for another Olivier. She returned to the big screen in "The Clearing" (2004), playing the victimized wife of a wealthy executive (Robert Redford) kidnapped by a disgruntled employee (Willem Dafoe), then voiced the supercomputer Deep Thought in the long-awaited film adaptation of Douglas Adams' comic sci-fi adventure, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (2005).

Mirren once again displayed her extraordinary poise and talent in "The Queen" (2006), movingly portraying Queen Elizabeth II in a quiet, guarded performance the earned the actress serious Oscar buzz after its release. Set during the crisis that gripped England after the untimely death of Princess Diana, "The Queen" pits Elizabeth against the newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen), who rightly believes that the Queen's isolation and refusal to publicly mourn the People's Princess might threaten to shake up the monarchy, despite it being technically proper for the Royal Family to mourn in private. Mirren earned critical adulation and recognition across the board for her performance in "The Queen," winning awards from several film and critic associations and a Golden Globe for Best Actress. But her greatest triumph was undoubtedly her first Academy Award, which she earned in 2007 at the age of 60.

In an ironic turn, Mirren next won a Golden Globe for her performance in "Elizabeth I" (HBO, 2006), a widely honored miniseries that depicted the public and personal life of the Virgin Queen during the second half of her rule, focusing on how she coped in a male-dominated world. Meanwhile, Mirren earned a third Golden Globe nomination and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for "Prime Suspect: The Final Act" (PBS, 2006). The seventh installment of the long-running series found a tired Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison on the verge of retirement and having to contend with the grisly murder of a pregnant 14-year-old girl. After a co-starring role as the mother of treasure hunter Ben Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) in "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets" (2007), Mirren released a memoir, In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures, then co-starred in the children's fantasy "Inkheart" (2009). Mirren next essayed a tough newspaper editor opposite Russell Crowe in the political thriller "State of Play" (2009) and continued to tackle challenging roles with her portrayal of Sofya Tolstoy, wife of author Leo Tolstoy, in the German-produced biopic "The Last Station" (2009), for which she would also be nominated for a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild award, an Independent Spirit Award and an Oscar for Best Actress.

The next year found Mirren essaying a feminized Prospera in Julie Taymor's screen production of "The Tempest" (2010), which the tireless actress followed by taking first billing in "The Debt" (2010), a thriller about Israeli agents tracking down a notorious Nazi war criminal. Sticking within the espionage genre, Mirren turned action hero alongside Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich for "Red" (2010), which featured the four stars as a group of former government assassins fighting back against the CIA after they are targeted for elimination. After hosting a 2011 episode of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), Mirren played the nanny of overgrown man-child Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) in the critically-derided remake of "Arthur" (2011). Following a starring role in the Hungarian-made drama "The Door" (2012), Mirren portrayed Alma Reville to Anthony Hopkins¿ Alfred Hitchcock in the behind-the-scenes showbiz biopic "Hitchcock" (2012), which delved into the couple¿s complex relationship during the Master¿s tumultuous production of "Psycho" (1960). She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her work in the film.

In 2013, Mirren appeared on screens in wildly different projects. For HBO's "Phil Spector" TV movie, she played real-life lawyer Linda Kenney Baden, who represented the notorious title producer (Al Pacino) as he was being tried for murder. A few months later, Mirren was featured in Pixar's hit animated sequel "Monsters University," where she voiced the strict and imposing character of Dean Abigail Hardscrabble. For her second entry of that summer, she reunited with much of the cast of "Red" for its ballistics-filled sequel, "Red 2." Mirren next appeared on the big screen in the restaurant-set romantic comedy-drama "The Hundred-Foot Journey" (2014), followed in turn by post-World War II drama "Woman in Gold" (2015), war thriller "Eye in the Sky" (2015), and "Trumbo" (2015), a biopic of the blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter, in

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  On the Edge (2001) Director ("Happy Birthday")

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Furious 8 (2017)
2.
3.
 Eye in the Sky (2016)
4.
5.
 Trumbo (2015)
8.
 Monsters University (2013) Dean Hardscrabble
9.
 Red 2 (2013)
10.
 Phil Spector (2013)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1965:
Played Cleopatra at the Old Vic with the National Youth Theater at age 18
1967:
Joined Royal Shakespeare Company
1967:
Made TV debut in BBC production of "Herostradus"
1968:
Played Hermia in a British TV adaptation of "A Midsummer's Night Dream"; directed by Peter Hall (released theatrically in the USA)
1971:
Had supporting role in the BBC production of "Cousin Bette"; aired on PBS' "Masterpiece Theater" in 1972
1972:
Toured Africa and America with Peter Brook's theater company
1972:
Co-starred in Ken Russell's "Savage Messiah" and had title role in film "Miss Julie"
1974:
Starred opposite Michael Jayston in the thriller "Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill" (ABC); film aired in Great Britain as "Coffin for the Bride"
1975:
Garnered acclaim for her stage performance in "The Sea Gull"
1975:
Starred opposite Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates and Malcolm McDowell in British TV adaptation of Harold Pinter's play "The Collection"
1978:
Had lead role of Rosalind in the BBC/PBS production of Shakespeare's "As You Like It"; part of a series in which all the Bard's plays were performed
1981:
Was featured as Morgana (aka Morgan Le Fey) in John Boorman's "Excalibur"
1981:
Cast as the fairy queen Titania in the BBC/PBS adaptation of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
1983:
Played Imogen in the BBC/PBS version of Shakespeare's "Cymbeline"
1983:
Had second go as the Egyptian queen in "Antony and Cleopatra" opposite Michael Gambon
1984:
Cast as a Russian astronaut in "2010"
1985:
Met future husband Taylor Hackford when he directed her in "White Nights"
1988:
Acted opposite Ben Kingsley in "Pascali's Island"
1990:
Co-starred with Rupert Everett in the thriller "The Comfort of Strangers"
1994:
Played the queen in "Prince of Jutland/Royal Deceit," a drama that purported to tell the "real" story of Hamlet
1995:
Made Broadway debut in "A Month in the Country"; received a Tony nomination
1996:
First screen credit as associate producer on "Some Mother's Son"; also starred as an Irishwoman whose son is imprisoned for alleged IRA activities
1997:
Associate produced and starred as a faded rock singer turned sleuth in the British TV mystery "Painted Lady"; aired on PBS in the USA
1998:
Starred opposite Alan Rickman in the London stage production of "Antony and Cleopatra"
1998:
Voiced the Queen in the animated feature "The Prince of Egypt"
1999:
Portrayed the title role in the Showtime film "The Passion of Ayn Rand"
1999:
Cast as the titular educator in the black comedy "Teaching Mrs. Tingle"
1999:
Returned to the London stage in "Collected Stories"
2000:
Co-starred opposite Stuart Townsend in the Donmar staging of "Orpheus Descending"
2001:
Directed the short "Happy Birthday" (filmed 2000); aired on Showtime as part of <i>Directed By</i> series in the edition entitled "On the Edge"
2001:
Returned to Broadway opposite Ian McKellen in "The Dance of Death"
2002:
Cast as a ruthless TV news producer in Hal Hartley's "No Such Thing"
2002:
Co-starred in the television movie "Door To Door"
2003:
Starred in the television feature "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone"
2003:
Returned as Inspector Jane Tennison to the PBS Masterpiece Theatre miniseries "Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness''; received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (2004)
2004:
Appeared in the Comedy "Raising Helen" directed by Garry Marshall
2004:
Co-starred with Robert Redford and Willem Dafoe in the thriller "The Clearing"
2006:
Starred opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. in Lee Daniels' indie film "Shadowboxer"
2006:
Reprised role of Inspector Jane Tennison in the PBS Masterpiece Theatre miniseries "Prime Suspect: The Final Act"; received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2006:
Offered an award winning performance as the Queen of England in the Channel 4/HBO joint production of "Elizabeth I"
2008:
Published her memoir, <i>In the Frame</i>
2009:
Cast as the ruthless editor of the <i>Washington Globe</i> in the political thriller "State of Play"
2010:
Starred in "Love Ranch," based on the true story of a married couple who opened the first legal brothel in Nevada; her husband Taylor Hackford directed the film
2010:
Co-starred with Bruce Willis in "Red," an adaption of the comic book mini-series of the same name
2010:
Starred as Prospera in the Julie Taymor-directed adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest"
2011:
Played Hobson, the title character's nanny in the remake of "Arthur," opposite Russell Brand
2011:
Played a former Mossad agent in "The Debt"
2012:
Portrayed the filmmaker's wife and longtime creative partner Alma Reville in "Hitchcock"
2013:
Featured in Pixar's "Monsters University"
2013:
Starred in the action sequel "Red 2"
2014:
Starred in culinary romance "The Hundred-Foot Journey"
2015:
Starred opposite Ryan Reynolds in "Woman In Gold," a drama about Nazi-looted art following World War II
2015:
Co-starred with Aaron Paul and Alan Rickman in war thriller "Eye in the Sky"
2015:
Portrayed Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper in Hollywood Blacklist biopic "Trumbo"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

St Bernard's Convent: -
Royal Shakespeare Company: -
National Youth Theatre: London , England - 1963 - 1964
International Centre for Theatre Research: - 1972 - 1973

Notes

Mirren has a small tatoo on her right hand just above her thumb. "I got it on an Indian reservation after I'd had a few drinks. I'd never have it removed, but I do have to cover it up sometimes." --From New York Newsday, December 28, 1994.

"Once my ambition was to be a great classical actress. Now I see acting as entertainment." --Mirren quoted in "Comfortable as a Queen or a Cop" by Blake Green in New York Newsday, December 28, 1994.

"I'm lucky with the culture I come from. There isn't the definition there is in America [where] you're either a film actress or a TV actress or a stage actress. ... I've literally done film, television, theater--and on a pretty substantial level. I don't think that's possible for American actors to do that." --Mirren quoted by Stephen Schaefer in USA Today, January 4, 1995.

"When I was about 25, I was really depressed and uptight and fucked up. I went to a hand reader, this Indian guy in this funky neighborhood. He said, 'The height of your success won't happen till you're in your late forties.' From that moment on, I felt much better, because I realized I didn't want to know what was going to happen. I just wanted to get on with it." --Helen Mirred quoted in Time Out New York, February 6-13, 1997.

"Acting isn't about wearing clothes, It's not about taking them off, either. That's not the creation of your career or the destruction." --Mirren on her penchant for appearing nude quoted in USA Today, August 18, 1999.

"The biggest break of my career was playing Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect. It allowed me finally to step forward to the next generation, to catch up with who I really was. It was a huge relief not to have to play even one year younger.

" ... there are some great film roles and a smaller number of women who are hanging on in there, like me. In fact, when they need someone who looks older, there are even fewer of us who haven't had plastic surgery. There's a difficult period between 44 and 58 when you're no longer a mature, good-looking woman and not yet an old bird, but after that it's fine." --Mirren quoted in London's The Sunday Times, November 7, 1999.

Asked if she regretted not having children, Mirren told The Guardian (November 15, 1999): "... God no. No, never. Absolutely never ever ever. I needed the freedom to do all the things I needed. So no absolutely never."

"I'm not a movie star. I'm not even famous. ... Career -- I hate that word. It smacks of ambition. There's something embarrassing and slightly distateful about it to me. Maybe that's a British thing. You're supposed to be humble and dedicated and above all truthful. But you're not supposed to be ambitious." --Helen Mirren quoted in the Daily News, July 22, 2001.

"Greenfingers" and "Gosford Park" co-star Clive Owen on Mirren: "There is a sort of honesty to Helen's work. She's much too straightforward to succumb to any kind of 'like me' acting." --From Daily News, July 22, 2001.

"I associate her very strongly with some of the movies that inspired me to become a filmmaker. I felt like I was working with a legend." --Hal Hartley who directed Mirren in "No Such Thing" (2002), quoted in the Daily News, July 22, 2001.

"Mirren always has a private moment with the camera, a moment in which we see beneath the harassed, brisk manner, exactly what she's thinking and feeling. She sets the emotional and moral values. And we accept what we learn from her because she's always a three-dimensional person, hurt and hurting, strong yet easily angered. Maturity has never looked so ripe, so sexual--and so intellectually focused at the same time." --Critic David Denby in "Guilty Pleasure"

On working with Ian McKellen in "The Dance of Death", Mirren told Time Out New York (September 13-20, 2001): "We do have two different rhythms, and I think we can learn from each other. He likes to dissect, analyze, pull it apart, and I just want to get out and do it. My fault in life is that I hurtle at things too fast."

"I learnt my gardening from an old boyfriend. In fact, everything that has made me into a good person, I have learnt from men." --Helen Mirren quoted in The Independent, September 20, 2001.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Liam Neeson. Actor. Together c. 1981-83; met during filming of "Excalibur".
husband:
Taylor Hackford. Director, producer. Together since 1984; married on December 31, 1997 in Inverness, Scotland; had been married and divorced twice with a son from each marriage.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Basil Mirren. Taxi driver. Russian; original surname Mironoff; adapted Mirren as surname in 1955.
brother:
Peter Mirren. Teacher. Older.
sister:
Katherine Mirren. Teacher. Younger.
step-son:
Rio Hackford. Jewelry designer. Born on June 28, 1970; mother, Georie Lowres Hackford.
step-son:
Alexander Hackford. Born on May 15, 1979; mother, Lynn Littman.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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