- NAME: Helen Mirren
- OCCUPATION: Actress
- BIRTH DATE: July 26, 1945 (Age: 68)
- EDUCATION: St. Bernard's High School, National Youth Theatre, New College of Speech and Drama
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Chiswick, London, England, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Dame Helen Lydia Mirren, DBE
- AKA: Dame Helen Mirren
- AKA: Helen Lydia Mirren
- Originally: Illiana Lydia Petrovna Mironova
- AKA: Illiana Mironova
- AKA: Illiana Lydia Petrovna Mironoff
- AKA: Illiana Mironoff
- Nickname: "The Sex Queen of Stratford"
- AKA: Helen Mirren
- ZODIAC SIGN: Leo
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Helen Mirren is a revered, award-winning actress who’s film and TV work includes Prime Suspect, Caligula, Shadowboxer, Elizabeth I and The Queen.
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Born on July 26, 1945, in London England, Helen Mirren pursued stage work before debuting in film during the '60s. A versatile, highly-skilled actress, Mirren has starred in many movies, including Caligula, Excalibur, Calendar Girls and The Last Station. She was lauded for her lead role in the series Prime Suspect and she's portrayed Queen Elizabeth I and II,
"We grew up without TV and never went to the cinema, so after Hamlet, all I wanted to do was get back into that world where all those fabulous things were possible."
Award-winning actress Helen Mirren was born Illiana Lydia Petrovna Mironova on July 26, 1945, in Chiswick, London, England, to Vasiliy Petrovich "Basil" Miranoff and Kathleen Rogers. One of three children, Mirren's father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, played the viola with the London Philharmonic. He later left the orchestra to become a cab driver and driving test examiner, both professions that better supported his family, and eventually ended up working as a civil servant with the Ministry of Transport. Her mother, Kathleen Rogers, was the daughter of a butcher who supplied meat to Queen Victoria. When Mirren was 9 years old, her father—whose family was Russian aristocracy—legally changed the family surname from Mironova to Mirren.
Mirren was attracted to theater at an early age, finding her inspiration at the age of 13 at an amateur production of Hamlet. "I was blown away by all this over-the-top drama," she said in an interview with The Times UK. "We grew up without TV and never went to the cinema, so after Hamlet, all I wanted to do was get back into that world where all those fabulous things were possible."
Mirren was steered away from the career by her parents, and was instead sent to St. Bernard's High School, a Catholic convent, in Southend-on-Sea. An English teacher at St. Bernard's, who happened on a recruiting circular for the National Youth Theatre, urged Helen to audition for the troupe. She did, and at the age of 18 was accepted into the company. At the urgings of her mother, however, Mirren entered a London teaching college in order to learn a stable profession.
By age 20, however, Mirren was starring as Cleopatra in the 1965 production of Antony and Cleopatra. Her performance as the Egyptian leader landed her an agent, as well as a place with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She began playing sexually charged roles such as Castiza in the 1966 staging of The Revenger's Tragedy; Cressida in a 1968 production of Troilus and Cressida; and Lady Macbeth in the 1974 Trevor Nunn production of MacBeth. These roles, as well as several others, earned her the label "The Sex Queen of Stratford"—a title she greatly resented.
Mirren's film career began as an extension of her stage performances, starring in the film versions of her RSC productions. She then appeared in Caligula (1980), which also starred Malcolm MacDowell and Peter O'Toole.
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Best Actress Oscar Winners 68 people in this group
Truth is often more fascinating than fiction. Since the beginning of movies, actors have been portraying figures from history and bringing them to life on screen. Mastering the well-known mannerisms and characteristics of real world figures can be more challenging than portraying a fictional character. Enormous amounts of research and drastic physical transformations are not uncommon for actors wanting to properly inhabit their role on film. Whether playing a scheming Queen, a country singer, a temperamental boxer, or a pioneering writer, those performers who can accurately play the part often find Oscar gold as their reward. Here are the Academy Award-winning actors, and the larger-than-life people they portrayed.
Oscar-Winning Portrayals 70 people in this group
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Real Life Leading Ladies 25 people in this group
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