Mirren, Helen: Career

Dame Helen Mirren is one of the best-known and most respected actresses not only in Britain but also internationally. 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 has been nominated twice for the Supporting Oscar. Will her lead role in “The Queen” earn Mirren her first Best Actress nomination

One of those, as Queen Charlotte in Nicholas Hytners “THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE,” is the only time Mirren has played a monarch on the big screen before “THE QUEEN”; it was also the role for which she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award and won the Best Actress Award at the Festival de Cannes in 1995.

Mirren began her career with the National Youth Theatre and in 1967 she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company starring in a number of esteemed productions including Cressida in Troilus and Cressida and Lady Macbeth in the production of Macbeth by Trevor Nunn. In 1972, she joined renowned director Peter Brooks theatre company and toured the world.

Mirrens film career began in the late 1960s with Michael Powells “AGE OF CONSENT,” in which she starred opposite James Mason but her breakthrough role was in John Mackenzie's “THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY.” Her performance as Victoria, the tough but sexy mistress of Bob Hoskins volatile cockney gangster, had critics hailing a major new screen star.

Mirren's film career took off after “LONG GOOD FRIDAY” and she starred in numerous acclaimed films including John Boormans fantasy adventure “EXCALIBUR,” and Neil Jordans Irish thriller “CAL.”

Mirren's portrayal of an older woman in love with a younger man in the latter film earned her the Best Actress Award at Festival du Cannes in 1984. She continued to push boundaries in such films as Peter Weirs “THE MOSQUITO COAST,” Peter Greenaways “THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER,” Charles Sturridges “WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD,” and Terry Georges “SOME MOTHERS SON,” which she also co-produced.

She earned her second Oscar nomination for her performance in Robert Altmans “GOSFORD PARK” and a Golden Globe nomination for Nigel Coles “CALENDAR GIRLS.” More recently, she starred alongside Robert Redford in the political thriller, “THE CLEARING.”

In the early 1990s, Mirren starred in the groundbreaking Emmy and BAFTA award-winning TV series “Prime Suspect,” in which she starred as detective chief inspector Jane Tennison. She has recently completed filming the final Prime Suspect, bringing this iconic role to its conclusion. In 1999, she won an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the title role of The Passion of Ayn Rand.

Her U.S. television title roles include “Losing Chase,” for which she won the 1996 Golden Globe Best Actress in a Television Movie or Miniseries, “The Passion of Ayn Rand” (Emmy Best Actress Award), “Door to Door” (Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations), “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone” (Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations), and the C4 and HBO co-production Elizabeth I, which was received with glowing reviews in both the UK and the US.

Mirrens stage career has been equally successful. Amongst her acclaimed performances in the 1970s was “Teeth n Smiles,” at the Royal Court and The Seagull at the Lyric. She has also received critical accolades for “Anthony and Cleopatra,” opposite Michael Gambon, Arthur Millers Two-Way Mirror, Orpheus Descending, A Month in the Country, which marked her Broadway debut and for which she received a Tony nomination, and The Dance of Death on Broadway opposite Sir Ian McKellen.

Most recently, Mirren starred in “Mourning Becomes Electra” at the National Theatre for which she was nominated for an Olivier Best Actress Award.

In 2003, Helen Mirren became a Dame of the British Empire, the highest prestige accorded to an actor in the U.K.