Award-winning stage, film and television actress, Helen Mirren was born on July 26, 1645 in West London. She attended St. Bernard’s High School and the New College of Speech and Drama in London. When she was 18, she auditioned for the National Youth Theatre and was accepted. Two years later, she landed the role of Cleopatra in their production of Antony and Cleopatra at the Old Vic theatre. This led to her joining the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she continued her theatre work for various plays.
Helen Mirren’s early stage roles include Diana in 1987’s All’s Well that Ends Well, Cressida in Troilus and Cressida, Phebe in As You Like It and the title role in Miss Julie. In 1975, she played the rock star Maggie in the musical play Teeth ‘n’ Smiles, which won her the Plays and Players Best Actress Award. She received critical acclaim in 1981 for her performance as the lead in John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi. Her stage career had a breakthrough in 1994, when she was cast as Natalya Petrona in Ivan Turgenev’s A Month in the Country, co-starring John Hurt and Ralph Fiennes. She was twice nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actress in a Play for her performance. Mirren has once again won praise for her portrayal of Christine Mannon in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra.
Mirren has also appeared in a number of films. She was cast in 1973’s O Lucky Man!, which was followed by an array of TV-movie roles. She appeared as Claretta in Caesar and Claretta, in The Philanthropist, and The Collection. She was also given roles in films like Caligula in 1979, and played Morgana in the 1981 movie Excalibur. She was also in the 1984 sci-fi thriller 2010 and was in White Nights, Coming Through and Heavenly Pursuits in 1985. Her success in films began with Gosford Park, where she played alongside Maggie Smith. She was also given praise for 2003’s drama-comedy Calendar Girls. Helen Mirren also had appearances in Raising Helen and The Clearing in 2004. She voiced a character in 2005’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and appeared as the Queen in 2006’s The Queen. She was also cast as Emily Appleton in National Treasure: Book of Secrets the next year.