Veteran actress Dame Helen Mirren has mixed emotions about landing a fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) as she is sad her parents did not live to witness the proud moment. The Oscar winner will be presented with the honour by British royal Prince William at the annual prizegiving in London on Sunday (16Feb14), but Mirren has been feeling emotional about her big moment.
The 68-year-old star of The Queen tells Britain's Press Association, "I'll try not to be too emotional about it. The emotional quotient, if my lip starts trembling, is the thought that my parents aren't here to be proud and that's the trouble with getting these sort of lifetime things because they do tend to come towards the latter part of your life as opposed to the beginning and they would have been so proud and so pleased for me. They would be so relieved that it all worked out".
Mirren's father Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov died in 1980 and her mother Kitty Mironov passed away in 1996.
Oscar winner, stage veteran, tough TV cop, Britain's beloved monarch - Dame Helen Mirren has proved she fits perfectly into any role, and she's still sexy at 65.
Born in London in 1945, Mirren joined the National Youth Theatre at 18 and went on to grace the stage at the renowned Royal Shakespeare Company.
Famous for playing a buxom beauty who wasn't afraid to bare all on camera, she went from arthouse to the mainstream after landing the role of detective Jane Tennison in British TV hit series Prime Suspect.
She has won an Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth II, four BAFTAS, three Golden Globes and four Emmys, as well as a legion of fans around the world - becoming one of the most sought after stars as she entered her sixth decade.
And to celebrate such a legend, we have dug deep into her colourful past to uncover 10 fascinating facts about Britain's sauciest Dame. All Hail Helen!
- Dame Helen was chosen as one of People Magazine's annual 100 Most Beautiful People in the World in 2007.
- She is only one of three actresses to win two Golden Globes for acting in the same year. Joan Plowright and Sigourney Weaver are the other two.
- Dame Helen has portrayed an English Queen three times; Queen Charlotte in The Madness of King George, Elizabeth I in Elizabeth I, and Elizabeth II in The Queen. She has also played monarchs in The Prince of Egypt, The Snow Queen and Caligula.
- She was voted the world's sexiest older woman in 2007.
- She can speak fluent French.
- Her real name is Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironov. Her father changed the family name to help them fit in with London life.
- She has a fansite dedicated to her, called The Helen Mirren Appreciation Society.
- Dame Helen documented her life in a picture book, released in 2008.
- She plays an unfaithful brothel owner in her latest movie Love Ranch, which was directed by her real-life husband Taylor Hackford. It's only the second time Hackford has directed Mirren - he was the man behind the lens for 1985 film White Nights.
- Her first acting credit on imdb.com is listed as Herostratus in 1967.
The veteran actress - who was born Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov - plays the wife of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy in the upcoming drama, and admits the experience of filming in Europe held extra meaning as she had just finished investigating her Russian roots on her father's side.
She recalls, "I'd just very recently gone through an amazing experience going back to Russia. With the help of a journalist in Russia, I discovered my family's estates in Russia. My sister and I also visited my grandmother's gravesite. I had visited that cemetery a couple of years before, but I had no idea where her grave was, so I just wandered around, incredibly moved just to be where she was buried. And then the journalist found the grave.
"The most amazing thing is having just experienced all that, walking on the set and finding myself looking like and walking into one of my family photographs, with all the extras dressed exactly the way the people are dressed in my grandfather's photographs, myself dressed as my great-aunts were dressed in my grandfather's photographs. That I found very very moving."
And the 64 year old insists she felt welcomed into the country: "It was an amazing trip. To a certain extent, yes, of course, absolutely (I felt like I belonged in Russia). But I am half British, so I certainly belong here (in the U.K.) as much as I belong in Russia."