Every industry has its own titans; those who have conquered the industry in every shape and form such that their very name has become a force of nature in itself. Their devotion to the industry and its progress has earned them a recognition that would be remembered long after they are dead; and one person who has achieved this is Helen Mirren, the acting titan from London who has written her name in bold letters on the pages of the acting profession.
There is so much to unpack about the life of the beautiful and talented actress whose work has earned her one of the highest honors a person could achieve in life as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).
Who is Helen Mirren?
One wonders if Helen’s parents, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda and Vasily Petrovich Mironoff knew when they looked into their child’s eyes for the first time on the 26th of July, 1945 at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital at Hammersmith, London that she would grow up to become a legend, but there was no doubt that the couple welcomed their new child with open arms.
Helen was raised as an Anglican in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex and attended St Bernard’s High School for Girls in Southend-on-Sea. Right from her primary school days, Helen was very involved in drama, appearing frequently in school productions of plays such as Hansel and Gretel. So when she applied to New College of Speech and Drama in London, it was the natural step for a journey that began as a child.
At the age of eighteen, Mirren auditioned to join the National Youth Theatre, continuing her on her path as a stage actress. Of course, she was accepted and she worked with the group till age 20 when she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and worked on productions like The Other Place, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, As You Like It and a couple more others.
As a true drama head, many years of Helen’s career were filled with several stage plays, from West End in London to Broadway in New York. She spent so much time in the theatre that it would not be amiss to call her the Queen of Theatre.
It certainly wouldn’t be amiss to also call her the Queen of film, seeing as she played three different Queens on television and in film, earning major awards for her performances in the roles like the Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Award. Since she made her onscreen debut in 1966 in an uncredited role as Penelope Squires, she has starred in several critically acclaimed films, some of which have earned her nominations and awards from various major award organizations. Her filmography contains films like The Queen, The Pledge, Gosford Park, Calendar Girls, Red, among several others.
Recognitions and Awards
Helen’s career, which runs into over a 60 films and television shows has earned her over 78 nominations from award bodies like the Academy Awards with 4 nominations, the Emmy Awards with 11 nominations, Golden Globe with 15 nominations, SAG Awards with 13 nominations and Tony Awards with 3 nominations, among several others.
She has been able to win at least one of every award she has been nominated for, hauling a total of 26 awards to her name. She got what is perhaps her biggest recognition yet when she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2003. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an Academy Fellowship from BAFTA.
Helen Mirren’s string of commercially successful films and the sheer volume of the films, theatre productions and television shows she has starred in are believed to have helped her to haul a total net worth of $50 million.
Relationship with Ex-boyfriend – Liam Neeson
Helen Mirren had a well-documented relationship with one of Hollywood’s most famous faces, Liam Neeson. The two were together during the 1980s having met while they both worked on Excalibur. The relationship was quite serious, so much that she lived with the actor. It, however, did not last with the reason for the breakup kept well hidden from the public till date.
Married Life: Husband – Taylor Beckford
Helen moved on from her breakup with Liam and married Taylor Beckford, who is an American film director. The couple has been together since 1986 and got married eventually in 1997. The couple has no kids and Mirren has repeatedly said she has no desire for kids now. Her husband, however, has two children from his previous marriages.