Helen Mirren's Early Life
Helen Mirren was born in the Hammersmith district of London to an English mother and Russian father, the descendant of an exiled Russian family of nobility. As a child, she developed an interest in acting and theater early on, performing in several school plays.
After graduating, she successfully auditioned for the National Youth Theater, and marked a major turning point in her career when she played Cleopatra in their production of Antony & Cleopatra when she was 20, which caught the attention of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Helen Mirren's Career and Success
After dalliances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, she moved to the West End, becoming one of the most acclaimed new stars in the field and developing an early tendency for playing royal figures. She made her Hollywood debut in 1967's Herostratus, with her breakthrough coming in 1980's The Long Good Friday.
Through years of quiet and well-regarded work, she earned her first Oscar nomination for 1994's The Madness of King George (which also won her a Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress). She was nominated once again for 2001's Gosford Park and finally for 2009's The Last Station, winning for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in 2006's The Queen. Some of her other notable roles include Cal (1984), The Prince of Egypt (1998), Calendar Girls (2003), Raising Helen (2004), Hitchcock (2012), and Trumbo (2015).
Apart from film, she won acclaim for her leading turn in the British series Prime Suspect (1991-2006), which won her three consecutive British Academy Television Awards, and in 2013, she played Queen Elizabeth II once again in the play The Audience, winning an Olivier Award that year and a Tony Award in 2015 when the play went to Broadway.
Helen Mirren's Personal Life
Mirren keeps her personal life away from the spotlight, with her first prominent relationship being with her Excalibur (1981) co-star Liam Neeson. They lived together till 1985, with Neeson stating that she was instrumental in getting his film career off the ground.
In 1985, on the set of White Nights, she met American director Taylor Hackford, and they began dating shortly after. They married on 31 December, 1997 in the Scottish Highlands, her first and his third. They've remained together ever since and have indicated they don't care to have children.
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