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HELEN MIRREN is one of the best-known and most respected actresses with an international career that spans stage, screen and television, she has become renowned for tackling challenging roles and has won many awards for her powerful and versatile performances. This was never more so the case than with her recent role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, for which she won an Academy Award, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe together with numerous other awards from all over the world.

In the same year she filmed The Queen, Mirren won recognition for two other performances. For HBO, she portrayed Queen Elizabeth I in the miniseries Elizabeth I, winning an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award. Mirren also reprised her old role as Detective Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect: The Final Act, the last installment in the PBS series. The performance earned her an Emmy and also a Golden Globe nomination – but she lost to herself, for her role as Elizabeth 1.

Mirren's film career began in the late 1960s with Michael Powell's Age of Consent playing opposite James Mason. Her breakthrough role though was in John Mackenzie's iconic film The Long Good Friday. After this Mirren starred in numerous acclaimed films including John Boorman's fantasy adventure Excalibur and Neil Jordan's Irish thriller Cal which earned her the Best Actress Award at the Cannes film festival in 1984. She continued to push boundaries in films that include Peter Weir's The Mosquito Coast, Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover, Charles Sturridge's Where Angels Fear to Tread and Terry George's Some Mother's Son, which she also co-produced. Her more recent films include Calendar Girls, Shadowboxer, Inkheart and National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

Prior to The Queen, Mirren also played a monarch in Nicholas Hytner's feature film The Madness of King George, a role for which she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award and won the Best Actress Award at Cannes film festival in 1995. She earned her second Academy Award nomination for her performance in Robert Altman's Gosford Park and a Golden Globe nomination for Nigel Cole's Calendar Girls.

This year she has appeared in Universal's State of Play. She has also finished work on Love Ranch directed by her husband Taylor Hackford, working together for the first time since White Knights, Julie Taymor's film version of Shakespeare's The Tempest and The Debt directed by John Madden.

Helen Mirren became a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2003.

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