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Helen Mirren      

Acclaimed Award-Winning Actress Best Known for her Role in "The Queen"

Helen Mirren is a revered, award-winning actress whose film and TV work includes "Prime Suspect," "Caligula," "Shadowboxer," "Elizabeth I" and "The Queen."

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, winning an Oscar for the latter role. She was later cast as Alma Reville, the wife of director Alfred Hitchcock, in the 2012 biopic "Hitchcock."

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 the gangster film "The Long Good Friday," which received strong praise. She followed this performance with a role in the fantasy film "Excalibur," which was based on the legend of King Arthur. But it was her role in the film "Cal" that landed Mirren her first major film awards: The Cannes Film Festival prize for best actress and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award.

In 1992, Mirren landed her breakthrough TV role as Detective Inspector Jane Tennison in the public television mystery series, "Prime Suspect." By the time the show concluded in 2006, Mirren had taken home five BAFTA Awards and several Emmy award nominations for her performance on the show, including a win in 1996 for Outstanding Lead Actress. Mirren continued to shine on stage as well, receiving a Tony award nomination her role in 1995's "A Month in the Country," and again in 2002 for "Dance of Death," co-starring Sir Ian McKellen.

Mirren's film career was also heating up, and in 1996 she earned her first Academy Award nomination for "The Madness of King George," a film that investigates King George III's gradual descent into insanity. Madness also earned Mirren her second Best Actress win at Cannes, and yet another BAFTA award. Mirren continued to star in critically acclaimed film fare, including the British mystery "Gosford Park," which led to Mirren's second Academy Award nomination, as well as another Golden Globe nod. Her string of award-winning works also gained notice of Queen Elizabeth and in 2003, Mirren was invested as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

In 2007, Mirren finally gained a reputation as an A-List actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen." Her performance landed Mirren her first Oscar and also earned her a Golden Globe for Best Actress. She then nabbed a Golden Globe and Emmy award for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in the HBO movie "Elizabeth I."

In 2010, Mirren was nominated for her fourth Academy Award for her turn in the Leo Tolstoy biopic, "The Last Station." For the performance, she also earned her first Screen Actors Guild and Independent Spirit awards. Mirren soon tackled a very different type of film —a fast-paced action thriller. In "Red," she co-starred with Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis as a former spy who gets pulled back into the game to help a friend. She also appeared in "Red 2."

Mirren earned accolades for her portrayal of Alma Reville, the wife of director Alfred Hitchcock, in the 2012 biopic "Hitchcock." She co-starred with Anthony Hopkins, who plays the film's title character, as well as actresses Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel and Toni Collette. In 2014, Mirren earned another Golden Globe nomination for her part in the restaurant comedy "The Hundred-Foot Journey." She returned to the role of Queen Elizabeth in the Broadway play "The Audience," which was written by Peter Morgan, who also penned the screenplay for "The Queen." In June 2015, she won her first Tony Award for the performance, and later that year she garnered more awards buzz with a Golden Globe-nominated turn in "Trumbo." Most recently, Mirren was cast in the 2016 film, "Collateral Beauty," alongside Kate Winslet, Will Smith, and Keira Knightley.

News


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SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young will host its 14th Annual Benefit Gala, on Monday, May 2, 2016, to celebrate the courage and achievements of more than 70 million people who stutter, including 5% of all children.

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