Dame Helen Mirren, DBE is an English actress with an international career that spans stage, screen and television and has won many awards for her powerful and versatile performances, including the Academy Award in 2007 for her performance in The Queen.
Helen began her career playing Cleopatra with the National Youth Theatre. She then appeared in rep in Manchester and from there she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company.
After four notable years at the RSC Helen took a complete change of direction, when she went to work with renowned director Peter Brook's theatre company Centre de Recherche Théâtral and toured Africa and America.
Since then her theatre work has spanned numerous productions in the West End, the Fringe, the RSC, the National Theatre and Broadway in the US including A Month in the Country, for which she received a Tony nomination and The Dance of Death on Broadway opposite Ian McKellan.
Her recent productions include Orpheus Descending at the Donmar Warehouse and Mourning Becomes Electra at the National Theatre for which she was nominated for an Olivier Best Actress Award.
Her performance in 2009 at the National Theatre in the title role of Racine's Phèdre directed by Nicholas Hytner made history when it became the first theatre production to be seen 'live' in cinemas throughout the world.
Helen's film career began with Michael Powell's Age of Consent and other early work included Caligula, but her breakthrough role came in John Mackenzie's The Long Good Friday.
Helen continued to make films throughout the 80s including Excaliber, Cal (Best Actress award at Cannes Film Festival), White Nights (directed by Taylor Hackford her husband), Mosquito Coast and in 1989 Peter Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.
She earned her first Academy Award nomination for her performance as Queen Charlotte in The Madness of King George and her second for her role as the housekeeper in Robert Altman's Gosford Park.
Helen's most celebrated role was as Elizabeth 11 in Stephen Frear's The Queen for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress and numerous other awards throughout the world.
In recent years, she has starred in Calendar Girls, The Clearing, Shadowboxer and State of Play. For The Last Station she received another Best Actress Academy Award nomination, together with a Golden Globe, SAG and Independent Spirit nominations for her role as Countess Sofya Tolstoy.
Helen's first leading role in television was as Cousin Bette for the BBC in the 70's; other BBC work at that time included The Changeling, The Philanthropist and the outstanding 1979 production of Denis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills.
However it was in the award-winning series Prime Suspect as DCI Jane Tennison that Helen became a household name in television. Written by Linda La Plante as a single TV drama it spawned another four seasons in the 90s.
Helen reprised the role in 2003 and the final Prime Suspect was released in 2006, bringing this iconic role to its conclusion and for which she won an Emmy for Best Actress.
During the 'intermission' from Prime Suspect Helen starred in a number of award winning US TV productions including Losing Chase, Ayn Rand and The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone.
Another famous television role was in Elizabeth I, in which her performance won her an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Actress
Helen Mirren was appointed a Dame of the British Empire in 2003.