Born on July 26, 1945, in London, Dame Helen Mirren is now undoubtedly a living legend of both stage and screen. Originally named Illiana Lydia Petrovna Mironova, Mirren’s father changed the family name when she was 9 years old.
Mirren began her acting career on the stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company with whom she starred in numerous productions including 1968 Troilus and Cressida. Her earlier film appearances include Age of Consent (1969), O Lucky Man! (1973), Savage Messiah (1972) and the controversial Caligula (1980).
In 1984, Mirren won the Cannes Film Festival Award (her first major film award) for Best Actress for her role in Cal. From then on, it was solid trajectory to international success with the television mystery series Prime Suspect, and films such as The Madness of King George (1996), The Queen (2006) and Last Station (2010). In 2003, she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to drama and in 2006 she won an Academy Award for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006). She has since gone on to star in Hollywood blockbusters Red (2010), Red 2 (2013), and Eye in the Sky (2015).
In this year’s British Film Festival, we screen a selection of highlights from Mirren’s career and pay tribute to the remarkable and versatile talents of a captivating woman who embodies strength and grace no matter the character she plays.