Helen Mirren

Actress, Director

7/26/1945 (77 years old) Chiswick, England

Boasting remarkable versatility and palpable sensuality, this British actress has turned into the thinking man's sex symbol. In the '60s, she started out in the theater. After joining the National Youth Theatre, she played the Egyptian Queen in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, a role she would embody two more times during her career. She made her film debut playing a rambunctious teenager in 1969's The Age of Consent, and then worked consistently in her homeland. At the outset of her film career, she took somewhat racy parts in offbeat projects such s Savage Messiah (1972), the sexually charged Caligula (1980) and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989). In the '80s, her eye-catching performances also helped make her a household name stateside. She impressed audiences as a gangster's girlfriend in The Long Good Friday (1980) and as the deliciously evil Morgana in Excalibur (1981) opposite her then-boyfriend Liam Neeson. In 1984, she tapped into her Russian heritage as a ballet star behind the Iron Curtain in White Nights and ended up dancing away with the director, Taylor Hackford, who became her husband. In the '90s, she became more widely known to American audiences when she snagged her seminal role as Detective Inspector Jane Tennison in the first of seven installments of the Prime Suspect TV franchise. Intelligent, intense, sexy and flawed, the character allowed Mirren to go from domineering to devastated, and netted her three consecutive BAFTA awards, plus an Emmy.  On the silver screen, Mirren continued to be praised for performances in more mainstream fare, and she scored Oscar nominations for her roles in The Madness of King George (1994) and Gosford Park (2001). On the small screen, she earned more venerability with her acclaimed Emmy-winning portrayal of Ayn Rand in the made-for-TV movie The Passion of Ayn Rand. In the '00s, she continued to work consistently in television, stage and film on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2003, she returned to her risqué routes with the big-screen comedy Calendar Girls, which featured the 58-year-old actress in some provocative poses. Next, Hollywood enthusiastically embraced her regal portrayals of Queen Elizabeth I in the acclaimed television miniseries Elizabeth I and then Queen Elizabeth II in the feature film The Queen. Her uncanny channeling of Elizabeth II earned her a long overdue accolade: an Oscar for Best Actress. After her banner year, she let loose and took supporting roles in the action adventure flick National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007), the family-friendly Inkheart (2009) and the political thriller State of Play (2009). In 2009, she also added to her resume even more award nominations (including an Oscar and Golden Globe nod) for her well-lauded depiction of Leo Tolstoy's wife in The Last Station. When not working, she spends time with her husband and stepchildren, and she also campaigns with human rights organizations.

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