Helen Mirren is one of the best known and most respected actors with an international career spanning stage, screen and television. She is renowned for tackling challenging roles and has received numerous awards for her powerful and versatile performances, including the Academy Award for her work in The Queen.
This summer in London, Mirren will play the title role in the National Theatre’s production of Rancine’s Phèdre, directed by Nicholas Hytner. The production will then move to Washington, D.C., for a limited run at the Shakespeare Theatre Company.
Mirren recently completed principal photography on John Madden’s The Debt, playing an agent pursuing a Nazi war criminal. She also recently wrapped Julie Taymor’s The Tempest, starring as Prospero in a gender twist on the classic character.
In Michael Hoffman’s soon to be released The Last Station, Mirren stars as the wife of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy during the tumultuous last year of his life and troubled marriage. Also coming up is her husband Taylor Hackford’s independent film Love Ranch, which marks their first film collaboration since White Knights in 1985.
Mirren launched her career in London at the National Youth Theatre, playing Cleopatra. She went on to star in a number of esteemed productions, including Troilus and Cressida and Macbeth, for the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1972, she joined renowned director Peter Brook’s theatre company and toured the world.
Mirren’s film career began with Michael Powell’s Age of Consent, but her breakthrough role was in John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday, opposite Bob Hoskins.
She has starred in such acclaimed films as John Boorman’s Excalibur and Neil Jordan’s Irish thriller Cal, for which she received the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. She continued to push boundaries in Peter Weir’s The Mosquito Coast, Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover, Charles Sturridge’s Where Angels Fear to Tread and Terry George’s Some Mother’s Son, which she also co-produced.
Mirren earned her first Academy Award nomination for her performance as Queen Charlotte in The Madness of King George, a role that won her another Best Actress Award from the Cannes Film Festival. She earned her second Oscar nomination for her role as the housekeeper in Robert Altman’s Gosford Park. Additional film credits include Calendar Girls, The Clearing, and Shadowboxer.
Her most celebrated role was as Elizabeth II in Stephen Frear’s The Queen, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress along with a Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG and numerous other awards from around the world.
In television, Mirren starred in seven installments of the award-winning PBS series Prime Suspect as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison. The final chapter was released in 2006, bringing this iconic role to its conclusion after an unprecedented total of two Emmy Awards and six nominations, one Golden Globe nomination (which she lost to herself for her role in Elizabeth I), three BAFTA Awards and six nominations and a TCA nomination.
Her other television credits include The Passion of Ayn Rand, (Emmy and a Golden Globe nominations), Losing Chase (Golden Globe Best Actress), 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 Elizabeth I (Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Actress).
Mirren’s more recent stage credits include A Month in the Country, for which she received a Tony nomination, The Dance of Death on Broadway opposite Sir Ian McKellan, and she played Christine in Mourning Becomes Electra at the National Theatre, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Best Actress Award.
Mirren became a Dame of the British Empire in 2003.