Helen Mirren: Young Shakespearean Vixen And Screen Queen, Then And Now

By | January 14, 2021

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Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra being performed by the National Youth Theatre and the Old Vic in London, 6th September 1965. Starring actress Helen Mirren, 19, as Cleopatra (Photo by Barham/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Helen Mirren, famous for playing Queens of England, has been a bold presence in entertainment since her early career as a stage actress. Mirren was one of many serious British actors who continued to do highbrow work -- as a star of the Royal Shakespeare Company -- from the late '60s through the early '80s, while making provocative choices in her film work, including Age Of Consent (1969), O Lucky Man! (1973), Caligula (1979), The Long Good Friday (1980), Hussy (1980) and Excalibur (1981). She's still burning her candle at both ends in the 21st century. In 2005-06, she played Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (a movie) and Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth I (a TV miniseries) and won an Oscar, an Emmy, and two Golden Globes for her efforts; other recent work includes the nude-calendar comedy Calendar Girls (2004), National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (2007), Monsters University (2013) and Hobbs & Shaw (2019). It's fair to say you really don't know what she'll do next -- but you know she'll do it well, as she's unquestionably among the elite actresses of her generation. And here in her mid-'70s, she revels in her free-spiritedness and seems to be having the time of her life.

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Young Helen Mirren in "Age of Consent.” (decider)

Beyond her prodigious acting career, Mirren continues to grab headlines for her candid and sometimes outrageous persona. She seems to relish sounding off on taboo subjects -- and her honesty, particularly as a woman of a certain age in an entertainment industry obsessed with youth, has made her a laudable role model in an age devoid of them. In a related story, she's considered the hottest septuagenarian in Hollywood -- proof, perhaps, that sexy doesn't have an expiration date. Here’s why Helen Mirren might be even more awe-inspiring than you thought.