Mirren at the Moët British Independent Film Awards on 7 December 2014
Helen Lydia Mironoff
26 July 1945
|Alma mater||New College of Speech and Drama|
Taylor Hackford (m. 1997)
|Relatives||Tania Mallet (cousin)|
Dame Helen Lydia Mirren, DBE (née Mironoff; born 26 July 1945) is an English actor. Mirren began her acting career with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1967, and is one of the few performers who have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2007 for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen and received the Olivier Award for Best Actress and Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the same role in The Audience.
Mirren's other Academy Award nominations include The Madness of King George (1994), Gosford Park (2001), and The Last Station (2009). For her role as police detective Jane Tennison on the British television series Prime Suspect, which ran from 1991 to 2006, she won three consecutive BAFTA Awards for Best Actress between 1992 and 1994 and two Emmy Awards. She also received another Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her performance in the miniseries Elizabeth I (2005).
Some of her other notable film roles include Marcella in the 1984 film Cal, for which she won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress, 2010 (1984), The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), Calendar Girls (2003), Hitchcock (2012), The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014), Woman in Gold (2015), Trumbo (2015), and The Leisure Seeker (2017). She played Victoria Winslow in the action-comedy films Red (2010) and Red 2 (2013).
In 2003, she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to drama. In 2013, Mirren was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2014, BAFTA announced that Mirren would be the recipient of the Academy Fellowship.
- 1 Early life and family
- 2 Education
- 3 Theatre
- 4 Film
- 5 Television
- 6 Awards and recognition
- 7 Personal life
- 8 Filmography
- 9 Selected stage credits
- 10 Further reading
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Early life and family
She was born Helen Lydia Mironoff at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in Hammersmith, London, the daughter of Kathleen "Kitty" Alexandrina Eva Matilda (née Rogers; 1909–1996) and Vasily Petrovich Mironoff (1913–1980). Her mother was English and her father was Russian, originally from Kuryanovo, Smolensk Oblast. Mirren's paternal grandfather, Colonel Pyotr Vasilievich Mironov, was in the Imperial Russian Army and fought in the 1904 Russo-Japanese War. He later became a diplomat and was negotiating an arms deal in Britain when his family and he were stranded by the Russian Revolution. The former diplomat became a London cab driver to support his family and settled down in England.
His son, Helen's father, anglicised the family name to Mirren in the 1950s and changed his name to Basil Mirren. He played the viola with the London Philharmonic before World War II and later drove a taxi cab and was a driving-test examiner, before becoming a civil servant with the Ministry of Transport. Mirren's mother was a working-class Londoner from West Ham, East London, the 13th of 14 children born to a butcher whose own father had been the butcher to Queen Victoria. Mirren considers her upbringing to have been "very anti-monarchist". Mirren was the second of three children; she was born three years after her older sister, Katherine ("Kate"; born 1942), and also had a younger brother, Peter Basil (1948–2002). Her cousin was model and Bond girl Tania Mallet; Mallet's mother and Mirren's father were siblings. Mirren was brought up in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Mirren attended Hamlet Court primary school in Westcliff-on-Sea, where she had the lead role in a school production of Hansel and Gretel and St Bernard's High School for Girls in Southend-on-Sea, where she also acted in school productions. She then attended a teaching college, the New College of Speech and Drama in London, "housed within Anna Pavlova's old home, Ivy House" on the North End Road – which runs from Golders Green to Hampstead. Aged eighteen, she auditioned for the National Youth Theatre (NYT) and was accepted. By the time she was 20, she was playing Cleopatra in the NYT production of Antony and Cleopatra at the Old Vic, which led to her signing with the agent Al Parker.
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As a result of her work for the National Youth Theatre, Mirren was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). While with the RSC, she played Castiza in Trevor Nunn's 1966 staging of The Revenger's Tragedy, Diana in All's Well That Ends Well (1967), Cressida in Troilus and Cressida (1968), Rosalind in As You Like It (1968), Julia in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1970), Tatiana in Gorky's Enemies at the Aldwych (1971), and the title role in Miss Julie at The Other Place (1971). She also appeared in four productions, directed by Braham Murray for Century Theatre at the University Theatre in Manchester, between 1965 and 1967.
In 1970, the director/producer John Goldschmidt made a documentary film, Doing Her Own Thing, about Mirren during her time with the Royal Shakespeare Company. The film was made for ATV and shown on the ITV Network in the UK. In 1972 and 1973, Mirren worked with Peter Brook's International Centre for Theatre Research, and joined the group's tour in North Africa and the US, during which they created The Conference of the Birds. She then rejoined the RSC, playing Lady Macbeth at Stratford in 1974 and at the Aldwych Theatre in 1975.
Sally Beauman reported, in her 1982 history of the RSC, that Mirren—while appearing in Nunn's Macbeth (1974), and in a highly publicised letter to The Guardian newspaper—had sharply criticised both the National Theatre and the RSC for their lavish production expenditure, declaring it "unnecessary and destructive to the art of the Theatre," and adding, "The realms of truth, emotion and imagination reached for in acting a great play have become more and more remote, often totally unreachable across an abyss of costume and technicalities..." According to Beauman, there were no discernible repercussions for this rebuke of the RSC.
West End and RSC
At the West End's Royal Court Theatre in September 1975, she played the role of a rock star named Maggie in Teeth 'n' Smiles, a musical play by David Hare; she reprised the role the following year in a revival of the play at Wyndham's Theatre in May 1976. Her performance earned her the London critics' Plays & Players Best Actress award.
Beginning in November 1975, Mirren played in West End repertory with the Lyric Theatre Company as Nina in The Seagull and Ella in Ben Travers' new farce The Bed Before Yesterday ("Mirren is stirringly voluptuous as the Harlowesque good-time girl": Michael Billington, The Guardian, 10 December 1975). At the RSC in Stratford in 1977, and at the Aldwych the following year, she played a steely Queen Margaret in Terry Hands' production of the three parts of Henry VI, while 1979 saw her 'bursting with grace', and winning acclaim for her performance as Isabella in Peter Gill's production of Measure for Measure at Riverside Studios.
In 1981, she returned to the Royal Court for the London premiere of Brian Friel's Faith Healer. That same year she also won acclaim for her performance in the title role of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, a production of Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre which was later transferred to The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, London. Reviewing her portrayal for The Sunday Telegraph, Francis King wrote: "Miss Mirren never leaves it in doubt that even in her absences, this ardent, beautiful woman is the most important character of the story."
In her performance as Moll Cutpurse in The Roaring Girl—at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in January 1983, and at the Barbican Theatre in April 1983—she was described as having "swaggered through the action with radiant singularity of purpose, filling in areas of light and shade that even Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker omitted." – Michael Coveney, Financial Times, April 1983.
After a relatively barren sojourn in the Hollywood Hills, she returned to England at the beginning of 1989 to co-star with Bob Peck at the Young Vic in the London premiere of the Arthur Miller double-bill, Two Way Mirror, performances which prompted Miller to remark: "What is so good about English actors is that they are not afraid of the open expression of large emotions" (interview by Sheridan Morley: The Times 11 January 1989). In Elegy for a Lady she played the svelte proprietress of a classy boutique, while as the blonde hooker in Some Kind of Love Story she was "clad in a Freudian slip and shifting easily from waif-like vulnerability to sexual aggression, giving the role a breathy Monroesque quality" (Michael Billington, The Guardian).
On 15 February 2013, at the West End's Gielgud Theatre she began a turn as Elizabeth II in the World Premiere of Peter Morgan's The Audience. The show was directed by Stephen Daldry. In April she was named best actress at the Olivier Awards for her role.
A further stage breakthrough came in 1994, in an Yvonne Arnaud Theatre production bound for the West End, when Bill Bryden cast her as Natalya Petrovna in Ivan Turgenev's A Month in the Country. Her co-stars were John Hurt as her aimless lover Rakitin and Joseph Fiennes in only his second professional stage appearance as the cocksure young tutor Belyaev. "Instead of a bored Natalya fretting the summer away in dull frocks, Mirren, dazzlingly gowned, is a woman almost wilfully allowing her heart's desire for her son's young tutor to rule her head and wreak domestic havoc....Creamy shoulders bared, she feels free to launch into a gloriously enchanted, dreamily comic self-confession of love." (John Thaxter, Richmond & Twickenham Times, 4 March 1994)
Mirren was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as Best Actress (Play): in 1995 for her Broadway debut in A Month in the Country, now directed by Scott Ellis ("Miss Mirren's performance is bigger and more animated than the one she gave last year in an entirely different London production", Vincent Canby in the NY Times, 26 April 1995). Then again in 2002 for August Strindberg's Dance of Death, co-starring with Sir Ian McKellen, their fraught rehearsal period coinciding with the terrorist attacks on New York on 11 September 2001 (as recorded in her In the Frame autobiography, September 2007). On 7 June 2015‚ Mirren won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play‚ for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience which also won her the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress and made her one of the few actors to achieve the “Triple Crown of Acting”, joining the ranks of legends including Ingrid Bergman‚ Dame Maggie Smith, and Al Pacino.
In 1998, Mirren played Cleopatra to Alan Rickman's Antony in Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre. The production received poor reviews; The Guardian called it "plodding spectacle rarely informed by powerful passion", while The Daily Telegraph said "the crucial sexual chemistry on which any great production ultimately depends is fatally absent". In 2000 Nicholas Hytner, who had worked with Mirren on the film version of The Madness of King George, cast her as Lady Torrance in his revival of Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending at the Donmar Warehouse in London. Michael Billington, reviewing for The Guardian, described her performance as "an exemplary study of an immigrant woman who has acquired a patina of resilient toughness but who slowly acknowledges her sensuality."
At the National Theatre in November 2003 she again won praise playing Christine Mannon ("defiantly cool, camp and skittish", Evening Standard; "glows with mature sexual allure", Daily Telegraph) in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra directed by Howard Davies. "This production was one of the best experiences of my professional life, The play was four and a half hours long, and I have never known that kind of response from an audience ... It was the serendipity of a beautifully cast play, with great design and direction, It will be hard to be in anything better." (In the Frame, September 2007). She played the title role in Jean Racine's Phèdre at the National in 2009, in a production directed by Nicholas Hytner. The production was also staged at the Epidaurus amphitheatre on 11 and 12 July 2009.
Mirren has also appeared in a large number of films throughout her career. Some of her earlier film appearances include roles in Midsummer Night's Dream, Age of Consent, O Lucky Man!, Caligula, Excalibur, 2010, The Long Good Friday, White Nights, When the Whales Came and The Mosquito Coast. She appeared in Some Mother's Son, Painted Lady, The Prince of Egypt and The Madness of King George. One of her other film roles was in Peter Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, as the thief's wife, opposite Michael Gambon. In Teaching Mrs. Tingle, she plays sadistic history teacher Mrs Eve Tingle. In 2007, she claimed director Michael Winner had treated her "like a piece of meat" at a casting call in 1964. Asked about the incident, Winner told The Guardian: "I don't remember asking her to turn around but if I did I wasn't being serious. I was only doing what the [casting] agent asked me – and for this I get reviled! Helen's a lovely person, she's a great actress and I'm a huge fan, but her memory of that moment is a little flawed."
Mirren continued her successful film career when she starred more recently in Gosford Park with Maggie Smith and Calendar Girls with Julie Walters. Other more recent appearances include The Clearing, Pride, Raising Helen, and Shadowboxer. Mirren also provided the voice for the supercomputer "Deep Thought" in the film adaptation of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. During her career, she has portrayed three British queens in different films and television series: Queen Elizabeth I in the television series Elizabeth I (2005), Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006), and Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III, in The Madness of King George (1994). She is the only actor ever to have portrayed both Queens Elizabeth on the screen.
Mirren's title role of The Queen earned her numerous acting awards including a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award, among many others. During her acceptance speech at the Academy Award ceremony, she praised and thanked Elizabeth II and stated that she had maintained her dignity and weathered many storms during her reign as Queen. Mirren later appeared in supporting roles in the films National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Inkheart, State of Play, and The Last Station, for which she was nominated for an Oscar.
Mirren's first film of the 2000s was Joel Hershman's Greenfingers (2000), a comedy based on the true story about the award-winning prisoners of HMP Leyhill, a minimum-security prison. Mirren portrayed a devoted plantswoman in the film, who coaches a team of prison gardeners, led by Clive Owen, to victory at a prestigious flower show. The project garnered largely lukewarm reviews from critics, who felt that it added "nothing new to this already saturated genre" of British feel-good films. The same year, she began work on the mystery film The Pledge, actor Sean Penn's second directorial effort, in which she played a child psychologist. A critical success, the ensemble film tanked at the box office. Also the year, she filmed the American-Icelandic satirical drama No Such Thing opposite Sarah Polley. Directed by Hal Hartley, Mirren portrayed a soulless television producer in the film, who strives for sensationalistic stories. It was largely panned by critics.
Her biggest critical and commercial success, released in 2001, became Robert Altman's all-star ensemble mystery film Gosford Park. An homage to writer Agatha Christie's whodunit style, the story follows a party of wealthy Britons and an American, and their servants, who gather for a shooting weekend at an English country house, resulting in an unexpected murder. Widely acclaimed by critics, it received multiple awards and nominations, including a second Academy Award nomination and first Screen Actors Guild Award win for Mirren's portrayal of the sternly devoted head servant Mrs. Wilson. Mirren's last film that year was Fred Schepisi's dramedy film Last Orders opposite Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins.
In 2003, Mirren starred in Nigel Cole's comedy Calendar Girls, inspired by the true story of a group of Yorkshire women who produced a nude calendar to raise money for Leukaemia Research under the auspices of the Women's Institutes. Mirren was initially resistant to join the project, at first dismissing it as another middling British picture, but rethought her decision upon learning of the casting of co-star Julie Walters. The film garnered generally positive reactions by film critics, and grossed $96,000,000 worldwide. In addition, the picture earned Satellite, Golden Globe, and European Film Award nominations for Mirren. Her other film that year was the Showtime television film The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone opposite Olivier Martinez, and Anne Bancroft, based on the 1950 novel of the same title by Tennessee Williams.
In 2010, Mirren appeared in five films. In Love Ranch, directed by her husband Taylor Hackford, she portrayed Sally Conforte, one half of a married couple who opened the first legal brothel in the United States, the Mustang Ranch in Storey County, Nevada, leading to the mysterious circumstances surrounding the assassination of famous Argentinian boxer Ringo Bonavena. The drama film received mostly negative reviews from critics, who called it "disappointingly flaccid," and underperformed at the international box offices. Mirren starred in the principal role of Prospera, the duchess of Milan, in Julie Taymor's The Tempest. Based on the play of the same name by Shakespeare, Taymor changed the original character's gender to cast Mirren as her lead. While the actor garnered strong reviews for her portrayal, the film itself was largely panned by critics.
Mirren played a gutsy tea-shop owner who tries to save one of her young employees from marrying a teenage killer in Rowan Joffé's Brighton Rock, a crime film loosely based on Graham Greene's 1938 novel. The film noir premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010, where it received mixed reviews. Mirren's biggest critical and commercial success of the year was Robert Schwentke's ensemble action comedy Red, in which she portrayed a retired assassin. Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Warren Ellis, she was initially hesitant to sign on due to film's graphic violence, but changed her mind upon learning of Bruce Willis' involvement. Released to positive reviews, it grossed $186.5 million worldwide. Also in 2010, the actor lent her voice to Zack Snyder's computer-animated fantasy film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, voicing antagonist Nyra, a leader of a group of owls. The film grossed $140.1 million on a $80 million budget.
Mirren's next film was the comedy film Arthur, a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, starring Russell Brand in the lead role. Arthur received generally negative reviews from critics, who declared it an "irritating, unnecessary remake." In preparation for her role as a retired Israeli Mossad agent in the film The Debt, Mirren reportedly immersed herself in studies of Hebrew language, Jewish history, and Holocaust writing, including the life of Simon Wiesenthal, while in Israel in 2009 for the filming of some of the movie's scenes. The film is a remake of a 2007 Israeli film of the same name.
In 2012, Mirren played Alfred Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville in the 2012 biopic Hitchcock, directed by Sacha Gervasi and based on Stephen Rebello's non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. The film centres on the pair's relationship during the making of Psycho, a controversial horror film that became one of the most acclaimed and influential works in the filmmaker's career. It became a moderate arthouse success and garnered a lukewarm critical response from critics, who felt that it suffered from "tonal inconsistency and a lack of truly insightful retrospection." Mirren was universally praised for her play however, with Roger Ebert noting that the film depended most on her portrayal, which he found to be "warm and effective." Her other film that year was The Door, a claustrophobic drama film directed by István Szabó, based on the Hungarian novel of the same name. Set at the height of communist rule in 1960s Hungary, the story of the adaptation centres on the abrasive influence that a mysterious housekeeper wields over her employer and successful novelist, played Martina Gedeck. Mirren found the role "difficult to play" and cited doing it as "one of the hardest things [she has] ever done."
The following year, Mirren replaced Bette Midler in David Mamet's biographical television film Phil Spector about the American musician. The HBO film focuses on the relationship between Spector and his defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden, played by Mirren, during the first of his two murder trials for the 2003 death of Lana Clarkson in his California mansion. Spector received largely mixed to positive reviews from critics, particularly for Mirren and co-star Al Pacino's performances, and was nominated for eleven Primetime Emmy Awards, also winning Mirren a Screen Actors Guild Award at the 20th awards ceremony. The film drew criticism both from Clarkson's family and friends, who charged that the suicide defense was given more merit than it deserved, and from Spector's wife, who argued that Spector was portrayed as a "foul-mouthed megalomaniac" and a "minotaur". Also in 2013, Mirren voiced the character of Dean Abigail Hardscrabble in Pixar's computer-animated comedy film Monsters University, which grossed $743 million against its estimated budget of $200 million, and reprised her role in the sequel film Red 2. The action comedy received a mixed reviews from film critics, who called it a "lackadaisical sequel", but became another commercial success, making over $140 million worldwide.
Mirren's only film of 2014 was the comedy-drama The Hundred-Foot Journey opposite Indian actor Om Puri. Directed by Lasse Hallström and produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, the film is based on Richard Morais' 2010 novel with the same name and tells the story of a feud between two adjacent restaurants in a French town. Mirren garnered largely positive reviews for her performance of a snobby restaurateur, a role which she accepted as she was keen to play a French character, reflecting her "pathetic attempt at being a French actress." The film earned her another Golden Globe nomination and became a modest commercial success, grossing $88.9 million worldwide.
In 2015, Mirren reunited with her former assistant Simon Curtis on Woman in Gold, co-starring Ryan Reynolds. The film was based on the true story of Jewish refugee Maria Altmann, who, together with her young lawyer Randy Schoenberg, fought the Austrian government to be reunited with Gustav Klimt's painting of her aunt, the famous Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. The film received mixed reviews from critics, although Mirren and Reynold's performances were widely praised. A commercial success, Woman in Gold became one of the highest-grossing specialty films of the year. The same year, Mirren appeared in Gavin Hood's thriller Eye in the Sky (2015), in which she played as a military intelligence officer who leads a secret drone mission to capture a terrorist group living in Nairobi, Kenya. Mirren last film that year was Jay Roach's biographical drama Trumbo, co-starring Bryan Cranston and Diane Lane. The actor played Hedda Hopper, the famous actor and gossip columnist, in the film, which received generally positive reviews from critics and garnered her a 14th Golden Globe nomination.
Mirren's only film of 2016 was Collateral Beauty, directed by David Frankel. Co-Starring Will Smith, Keira Knightley, and Kate Winslet, the ensemble drama follows a man who copes with his daughter's death by writing letters to time, death, and love. The film earned largely negative reviews from critics, who called it "well-meaning but fundamentally flawed." In 2017, Mirren narrated Cries from Syria, a documentary film about the Syrian Civil War, directed by Evgeny Afineevsky. Also that year, she made an uncredited cameo appearance in F. Gary Gray's The Fate of the Furious, the eighth instalment in The Fast and the Furious franchise, playing Magdalene, the mother of Owen and Deckard Shaw. Mirren had a larger role in director Paolo Virzì's English-language debut The Leisure Seeker, based on the 2009 novel of the same name. On set, she was reunited with Donald Sutherland with whom she had not worked again since Bethune: The Making of a Hero (1990), portraying a terminally ill couple who escape from their retirement home and take one last cross-country adventure in a vintage van. At the 75th awards ceremony, Mirren received her 15th Golden Globe nomination.
In 2018, Mirren portrayed heiress Sarah Winchester in the supernatural horror film Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built, directed by The Spierig Brothers. In the same year, she starred as Mother Ginger in Disney's adaptation of The Nutcracker, titled The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston. She is expected to appear in the ensemble film Berlin, I Love You and the French crime thriller film Anna, the latter directed and written by Luc Besson.
Mirren is known for her role as detective Jane Tennison in the widely viewed Prime Suspect, a multiple award-winning television drama series that was noted for its high quality and popularity. Her portrayal of Tennison won her three consecutive BAFTA Awards for Best Actress between 1992 and 1994.
Some of Mirren's other television performances include Cousin Bette (1971); As You Like It (1979); Blue Remembered Hills (1979); The Twilight Zone episode "Dead Woman's Shoes" (1985); The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999), where her performance won her an Emmy; Door to Door (2002); and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (2003). In 1976, she appeared with Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates and Malcolm McDowell in a production of Harold Pinter's The Collection as part of the Laurence Olivier Presents series. She also played Queen Elizabeth I in 2005, in the television serial Elizabeth I, for Channel 4 and HBO, for which she received an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Mirren won another Emmy Award on 16 September 2007 for her role in Prime Suspect: The Final Act on PBS in the same category as in 2006. Mirren hosted Saturday Night Live on 9 April 2011.
Awards and recognition
Mirren lived with actor Liam Neeson during the early 1980s. They met while working on Excalibur (1981). Interviewed by James Lipton for Inside the Actors Studio, Neeson said she was instrumental in his getting an agent.
Mirren married American director Taylor Hackford (her partner since 1986) on 31 December 1997. The ceremony took place at the Ardersier Parish Church near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The couple had met on the set of White Nights. It is her first marriage, and his third (he has two children from his previous marriages). Mirren has no children and says she has "no maternal instinct whatsoever".
Mirren's autobiography, In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures, was published in the UK by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in September 2007. Reviewing for The Stage, John Thaxter wrote: "Sumptuously illustrated, at first sight it looks like another of those photo albums of the stars. But between the pictures there are almost 200 pages of densely printed text, an unusually frank story of her private and professional life, mainly in the theatre, the words clearly Mirren's own, delivered with forthright candour."
In 1990, Mirren stated in an interview that she is an atheist. In the August 2011 issue of Esquire magazine, Mirren said, "I am quite spiritual. I believed in fairies when I was a child. I still do sort of believe in the fairies. And the leprechauns. But I don't believe in God."
In a GQ interview in 2008, Mirren stated she had been date raped as a student and had often taken cocaine at parties in her twenties, and until the 1980s. She stopped using the drug after reading the (since debunked) tabloid tale that Klaus Barbie made a living from cocaine dealing.
On 11 May 2010, Mirren attended the unveiling of her waxwork at Madame Tussauds London. The figure reportedly cost £150,000 to make and took four months to complete. In 2012, Mirren was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life that he most admires.
In 2013, Mirren was announced as one of several new models for Marks & Spencer's 'Womanism' campaign. Subtitled "Britain's leading ladies", the campaign saw Mirren appear alongside British women from various fields, including pop singer Ellie Goulding, double Olympic gold medal winning boxer Nicola Adams, and writer Monica Ali. Mirren was listed as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by The Guardian in March 2013.
She is quoted as being a naturist, telling the Radio Times "I'm a naturist at heart. I love being on beaches where everyone is naked. Ugly people, beautiful people, old people, whatever. It's so unisexual and so liberating." In 2004, she was named "Naturist of the Year" by British Naturism. She said: "Many thanks to British Naturism for this great honour. I do believe in naturism and am my happiest on a nude beach with people of all ages and races!"
|1966||Press for Time||Penelope Squires||Uncredited|
|1968||A Midsummer Night's Dream||Hermia|
|1969||Age of Consent||Cora Ryan|
|1970||Red Hot Shot|
|1972||Savage Messiah||Gosh Boyle|
|Miss Julie||Miss Julie|
|1973||O Lucky Man!||Patricia|
|The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu||Alice Rage|
|The Long Good Friday||Victoria|
|1985||Heavenly Pursuits||Ruth Chancellor|
|Coming Through||Frieda von Richthofen Weekley|
|White Nights||Galina Ivanova|
|1986||The Mosquito Coast||Mother Fox|
|1988||Pascali's Island||Lydia Neuman|
|1989||When the Whales Came||Clemmie Jenkins|
|The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover||Georgina Spica|
|1990||Bethune: The Making of a Hero||Frances Penny Bethune|
|The Comfort of Strangers||Caroline|
|1991||Where Angels Fear to Tread||Lilia Herriton|
|1993||The Hawk||Annie Marsh|
|1994||The Madness of King George||Queen Charlotte|
|Children of God||Narrator (voice)|
|1995||The Snow Queen||Snow Queen (voice)|
|1996||Some Mother's Son||Kathleen Quigley||Also associate producer|
|The Prince of Egypt||The Queen (voice)|
|1999||Teaching Mrs. Tingle||Mrs. Eve Tingle|
|No Such Thing||The Boss|
|Happy Birthday||Distinguished woman||Also director|
|Gosford Park||Mrs. Wilson|
|2003||Calendar Girls||Chris Harper|
|2004||The Clearing||Eileen Hayes|
|2005||The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy||Deep Thought (voice)|
|2006||The Queen||Queen Elizabeth II|
|2007||National Treasure: Book of Secrets||Emily Appleton|
|2009||State of Play||Cameron Lynne|
|The Last Station||Sofya Tolstoy|
|2010||Love Ranch||Grace Bontempo|
|Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole||Nyra (voice)|
|The Debt||Rachel Singer|
|2013||Monsters University||Dean Hardscrabble (voice)|
|RED 2||Victoria Winslow|
|2014||The Hundred-Foot Journey||Madame Mallory|
|2015||Woman in Gold||Maria Altmann|
|Eye in the Sky||Colonel Katherine Powell|
|2017||Cries from Syria||Narrator (voice)|
|The Fate of the Furious||Magdalene Shaw||Uncredited|
|The Leisure Seeker||Ella Spencer|
|The Nutcracker and the Four Realms||Mother Ginger|
|2019||Berlin, I Love You||Margaret|
|The Good Liar||Betty McLeish||Post-production|
|2020||The One and Only Ivan||(voice)||Post-production|
|1975||Caesar and Claretta||Claretta Petacci||TV film|
|1977||The Country Wife||Margery Pinchwife||BBC Play of the Month|
|1978||As You Like It||Rosalind||BBC Television Shakespeare|
|1979||ITV Playhouse||Joanne||Episode: "The Quiz Kid"|
|S.O.S. Titanic||Mary Sloan||TV film|
|1982||Cymbeline||Imogen||BBC Television Shakespeare|
|1985||The Twilight Zone||Maddie Duncan||Episode: "Dead Woman's Shoes"|
|1987||Faerie Tale Theatre||Princess Amelia||Episode: "The Little Mermaid"|
|1989||Red King, White Knight||Anna||TV film|
|1991–2006||Prime Suspect||Jane Tennison||15 episodes|
|1996||Losing Chase||Chase Phillips||TV film|
|1997||Painted Lady||Maggie Sheridan||Miniseries|
|1998||Tracey Takes On...||Professor Horen||Episode: "Culture"|
|1999||The Passion of Ayn Rand||Ayn Rand||TV film|
|2002||Door to Door||Mrs. Porter||TV film|
|Georgetown||Annabelle Garrison||TV film|
|2003||The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone||Karen Stone||TV film|
|2005||Third Watch||Annie Foster||Episode: "Revelations"|
|Elizabeth I||Queen Elizabeth I||Miniseries|
|2010||Saturday Night Live||Herself||Episode: "Bryan Cranston/Kanye West"|
|2011||Saturday Night Live||Herself (host)||Episode: "Helen Mirren/Foo Fighters"|
|2012||Glee||Becky's Inner Voice||Uncredited voice role; 2 episodes|
|2013||Phil Spector||Linda Kenney Baden||TV film|
|2015–present||Documentary Now!||Herself (host)||13 episodes|
|2017||World War One Remembered: Passchendaele||Herself (host)||Miniseries|
|2019||Catherine the Great||Catherine the Great||Miniseries|
Selected stage credits
- Cleopatra, Antony and Cleopatra, Old Vic Theatre, London, 1965
- Cathleen, Long Day's Journey into Night, Century Theatre, Manchester, England 1965
- Kitty, Charley's Aunt, Century Theatre, Manchester, 1967
- Nerissa, The Merchant of Venice, Century Theatre, Manchester, 1967
- Castiza, The Revenger's Tragedy, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, England, 1967
- Diana, All's Well That Ends Well, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1967
- Cressida, Troilus and Cressida, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, London, 1968
- Hero, Much Ado About Nothing, Aldwych Theatre, 1968–1969
- Win-the-Fight Littlewit, Bartholomew Fair, Aldwych Theatre, 1969
- Lady Anne, Richard III, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1970
- Ophelia, Hamlet, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1970
- Julia, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1970
- Tatyana, Enemies, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, 1971
- Harriet, The Man of Mode, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, 1971
- Title role, Miss Julie, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, 1971
- Elayne, The Balcony, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, 1971
- Isabella, Measure for Measure, Riverside Studios Theatre, London,1974
- Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1974, then Aldwych Theatre, 1975
- Maggie, Teeth 'n' Smiles, Royal Court Theatre, London, 1975, then Wyndham's Theatre, London, 1976
- Nina, The Seagull, Lyric Theatre, London, 1975
- Ella, The Bed before Yesterday, Lyric Theatre, 1975
- Queen Margaret, Henry VI, Parts I, II and III, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1977, then Aldwych Theatre, 1978
- Title role, The Duchess of Malfi, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, England, 1980, then The Roundhouse, London, 1981
- Grace, Faith Healer, Royal Court Theatre, 1981
- Cleopatra, Antony and Cleopatra, Pit Theatre, London, 1983
- Moll Cutpurse, The Roaring Girl, Barbican Theatre, London, 1983
- Marjorie, Extremities, Duchess Theatre, London, 1984
- Madame Bovary, 1987
- Angela, "Some Kind of Love Story" and dying woman, "Elegy for a Lady," in Two-Way Mirror (double-bill), Young Vic Theatre, *London, 1989
- Sex Please, We're Italian, 1991
- Natalya Petrovna, A Month in the Country, London, 1994, then Criterion Theatre, New York City, 1995
- Antony and Cleopatra, Royal National Theatre, London, 1998
- Collected Stories, London, 1999
- Lady Torrance, Orpheus Descending, Donmar Warehouse, London, 2000
- Alice, Dance of Death, Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 2001–2002
- Mourning Becomes Electra, Lyttelton Stage, Royal National Theatre, 2003
- Phèdre, National Theatre, 2009
- Also appeared as Susie Monmican, The Silver Lassie; in Woman in Mind, Los Angeles
- Queen Elizabeth II, The Audience, The Gielgud Theatre, London, 2013
- Queen Elizabeth II, The Audience, Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, New York City, 2015
- Command Performance, a profile of Helen Mirren written by John Lahr in The New Yorker magazine, 2 October 2006.
- "Helen Mirren Biography: Actress (1945–)". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Helen Mirren, Emmy Award, retrieved 11 March 2018
- "No. 56963". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2003. p. 7.
- "Dame Helen centre stage at palace". BBC. 5 December 2003. Archived from the original on 25 July 2012.
- "Helen Mirren Gets Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star". Sky News. 4 January 2013.
- "Dame Helen Mirren – BAFTA Fellow in 2014". BAFTA. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- Lahr, John (2 October 2006). "COMMAND PERFORMANCE". The New Yorker. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
- "England & Wales births 1837–2006 Transcription". findmypast.com. Retrieved 6 June 2016 – via Findmypast.
Her birth was registered in the Hammersmith registration district
- "'Whenever I see the Queen, I think, "Oh ... there I am"': The right royal progress of Helen Mirren". The Independent. 20 January 2017.
- According to her 2007 memoirs "the fastest birth on record at that time. I wonder if anyone has broken it yet?"
- Helen Mirren reveals the joy of meeting her Russian relatives. Daily Mail. (17 September 2013). Retrieved 30 December 2013
- "Helen Mirren". Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). nationsmemorybank.com
- Pyotr Vasilievich Mironov Collection: The Russian Government Committee in London (1914–1939). University College London. Retrieved 30 December 2013
- "Helen Mirren's in the prime of life". London Evening Standard. 6 October 2016.
- Finn, Natalie (26 February 2007) "Helen Mirren, British Royal Tea?". Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). E!. Retrieved 30 December 2013
- "Helen Mirren fondly remembers late costar Alan Rickman". Inquirer. Retrieved 6 October 2016
- "Goldfinger actress dies aged 77". BBC News. 1 April 2019. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
- Piccalo, Gina (7 February 2011) "Helen Mirren interview". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 November 2012
- Helen Mirren (25 March 2008). In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures (autobiography). Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-1416567608.
- Waterman, Ivan (2003). Helen Mirren: The Biography. London: Metro Books, pp. 18–22, 26–29. ISBN 1843580535.
- Helen Mirren – Biography. Talktalk.co.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- Murray, Braham (2007). The Worst It Can Be Is a Disaster. London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 978-0-7136-8490-2.
- The Royal Shakespeare Company: A History of Ten Decades by Sally Beauman, (Oxford 1982)
- The Audience Archived 16 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Hitthetheatre.co.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- "Helen Mirren crowned queen of the stage". 3 News NZ. 30 April 2013.
- Lister, David. "A case of hype and fall as Rickman and Mirren are put to the sword" The Independent. 23 October 1998
- Miller, Julie (19 November 2015). "Helen Mirren Reveals The One Nude Scene She Didn't Mind Filming". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
- McNiece, Mia (19 November 2015). "Helen Mirren Reveals Her Favorite Nude Scenes Were for Caligula: 'Everyone Was Naked'". People. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
- Walker, Tim (3 May 2013) David Cameron keeps his distance from film director Michael Winner. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- "Helen Mirren: The day Michael Winner treated me like a piece of meat". Daily Mail. 17 December 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Susan Sarandon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron & More Casting Couch Horror Stories (Photos). The Daily Beast. 16 October 2012.
- Nominees & Winners for the 82nd Academy Awards Archived 19 April 2010 at WebCite. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.org (24 August 2012). Retrieved 30 December 2013
- Deitz, Paula (16 July 1998). "Free to Grow Bluebells in England". The New York Times. p. 13.
- Ramsey, Nancy (22 July 2001). "FILM; Never Too Tough to Be Softened Up by a Flower". The New York Times. p. 22.
- "Greenfingers (2000) – Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- "The Pledge (2001) – Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- (2001-05-15). US directors laud Cannes audiences. BBC News. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
- "No Such Thing (2001) – Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- Mathews, Jack (11 March 2002). "'Gosford Park' Big Winner". Daily News. New York. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- Neal, Rome (24 December 2003). "Helen Mirren's Calendar Girls". CBS News. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- "2009 – Movie Connections – Calendar Girls (2/4)". Movie Connections. YouTube. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- "Calendar Girls (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- "Awards for Calendar Girls". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 14 February 2008.
- "Helen Mirren's Brothel Movie to Open", New York
- "Mirren, Pesci Team for 'Love Ranch'", Entertainment Weekly
- "Love Ranch (2010) ! Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
- "Love Ranch (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
- "Mirren 'to star in Tempest film'". BBC. 8 October 2008. Archived from the original on 18 August 2010.
- "The Tempest Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
- "Helen Mirren: Interview". Time Out. 2 June 2015. Archived from the original on 28 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- "At TIFF: Brighton Rock Extends the Graham Greene Adaptation Curse". Movieline.com. 13 September 2010. Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- Holden, Stephen (25 August 2011). "A Meek Rose Amid the Mods and Rockers in an English Resort Town". NYT Critics Pick. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- "Casting Notes: Alan Cumming in Burlesque; Mirren Does Espionage; Dempsey Steals Laughs; Weaver and Shawkat Hit Cedar Rapids". /Film. 4 November 2009. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
- Levy, Emanuel (15 October 2010). "Majestic Mirren". Financial Times. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- "RED (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- "Arthur". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Mirren Learning Hebrew For Movie Role. ContactMusic.com. 27 February 2009
- "Hitchcock". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- Ebert, Roger (20 November 2012). "Hitchcock". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
- Hawker, Philippa. "Mirren steps through a new door". The Sidney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- Lloyd Grove. "Phil Spector's Jersey Girl Lawyer: Meet the Real Linda Kenney Baden". thedailybeast.com. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- Gupta, P. (15 March 2013): Friends of Lana Clarkson protest HBO film “Phil Spector”.
- "Friends of Lana Clarkson protest HBO film about Phil Spector", Salon. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Monsters University (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- Warner, Kara (29 March 2011). "Helen Mirren Says She's Ready For 'Red' Sequel: 'Just Get Me The Script'". MTV News. Archived from the original on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Gilchrist, Todd (15 July 2013). "'Red 2' Review: Bruce Willis Sequel Dies Hard, Lands With Dull Thud". The Wrap. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- "Red 2". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Roberts, Sheila (31 July 2014). "Helen Mirren Talks THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY, Working with Om Puri, What She Looks For in Choosing Projects, TRUMBO, and More". Collider. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- "The Hundred-Foot Journey". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
- Valentine, Colin. "Gustav Klimt Painted Much More Than 'The Woman In Gold'". Huffpost Arts & Culture. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Woman in Gold". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Erbland, Kate (29 December 2015). "The 20 Highest Grossing Indies of 2015 (A Running List)". Indiewire. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- Sneider, Jeff. "Aaron Paul, Helen Mirren Join Colin Firth in Thriller 'Eye in the Sky'". The Grill. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Trumbo". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- "How Critics' "Schoolyard Assault" On 'Collateral Beauty' Turned Ugly For Will Smith Pic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
- "Collateral Beauty reviews: Will Smith movie slammed by critics". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
- Brent Lang (10 January 2017). "HBO Nabs 'Cries From Syria' Documentary Ahead of Sundance". Variety. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- "How Helen Mirren Ended Up In The Fate Of The Furious, According To Vin Diesel". cinemablend.com. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- "Cannes: Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland to Topline Paolo Virzì's 'The Leisure Seeker'". Variety. 12 May 2016.
- "Helen Mirren & Donald Sutherland Team For 'The Leisure Seeker' – Cannes". Deadline. 12 May 2016.
- Rubin, Rebecca (11 December 2017). "Golden Globe Nominations: Complete List". Variety. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- Fleming Jr, Mike (14 May 2016). "Helen Mirren Takes Aim At Playing Firearm Heiress In Hot Cannes Package 'Winchester'". Deadline. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- Kroll, Justin (25 August 2016). "Helen Mirren Joins Disney's 'The Nutcracker'". Variety. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
- Keslassy, Justin Kroll, Elsa (9 October 2017). "Luc Besson Sets Next Film 'Anna' With Helen Mirren, Luke Evans (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
- "Dame Helen Mirren: 10 things you need to know about the Oscar nominated actress". The Mirror. Retrieved 7 November 2012
- Nadel, Nick. (10 April 2011) EW review. Watching-tv.ew.com. Retrieved 30 December 2013
- "Dame Helen Mirren fights sewage plant plan in quiet fishing village where she got married". The Daily Telegraph. 30 May 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
- Mirren: 'I Have No Maternal Instinct'. contactmusic.com. 26 February 2007
- Book review: The Stage newspaper, 1 November 2007
- "Sometimes I feel like a farmer during a war, someone who doesn't know very much about it and carries on digging, hoping for rain. But just the last few days I've had this terrible feeling of... doom. It's a, er, biblical, kind of Old Testament feeling. I'm an atheist, but I was suddenly thinking of those stories of the flood and punishment. Because we've become unbelievably greedy and destructive." Helen Mirren interviewed by Simon Garfield, The Independent (London), 25 November 1990, The Sunday Review Pages, p. 27.
- Fussman, Cal (7 July 2011) "Helen Mirren: What I've Learned,". Esquire. Retrieved 8 January 2013
- "Dame Helen Mirren in date-rape revelation". CNN. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
- Taylor, Jerome (1 September 2008). "Mirren talks of her date-rapes, then provokes furore with views on sex attackers". The Independent. London. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
- showdown "Dame Helen in cocaine admission". BBC. 1 September 2008
- The Queen actress Dame Helen Mirren reveals former love of cocaine. The Telegraph. 31 August 2008
- "Helen Mirren unveils her waxwork at Madame Tussauds". Daily Mail. London. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
- "New faces on Sgt Pepper album cover for artist Peter Blake's 80th birthday". The Guardian. 5 October 2016.
- "Sir Peter Blake's new Beatles' Sgt Pepper's album cover". BBC. 9 November 2016.
- "Marks & Spencer's new ad: what does it mean?". The Guardian. 6 October 2016.
- "The 50 best-dressed over 50s". The Guardian. 29 March 2013.
- "Celebrity nudists: the stars who like to let it all hang out". Radio Times. London. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- "Dame Helen Mirren named 'Naturist of the Year'". Northampton: British Naturism. 8 January 2012. Archived from the original on 4 October 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures (autobiography) by Helen Mirren, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007 ISBN 978-0-297-85197-4.
- Rather than writing an autobiography, Mirren was commissioned by Alan Samson at Orion Books to write about her life in a series of chapters based on pictures from her extensive personal collection of photography and memorabilia. Edited by Chris Worwood, with whom she worked on the Award-winning HBO series Elizabeth, the book covers every aspect of her life from her aristocratic Russian heritage to her days with Peter Hall's RSC company to her Academy Award for The Queen.
- Helen Mirren on IMDb
- Helen Mirren at the Internet Broadway Database
- Helen Mirren at the TCM Movie Database
- Helen Mirren on Charlie Rose
- Works by or about Helen Mirren in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- "Helen Mirren collected news and commentary". The New York Times.