Helen Mirren was born in Ilford, Essex, England as Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov, on July 26, 1945. Acting was in her blood from a very young age, as Mirren began to act first on the stage of her high school. She moved on to play Cleopatra in the National Youth Theatre and then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966. She didn?t stop there, but continued to take parts in a variety of stage shows over the following decade, appearing in Teeth ?n? Smiles, which garnered her a Best Actress Award from Plays And Players. In 1975, she switched to the Lyric Theatre Company and began to act in plays such as The Seagull and The Bed Before Yesterday. She also did a number of Shakespeare?s plays and received numerous rave reviews over the years for her performances in productions such as The Roaring Girl in 1983, and Two Way Mirror in 1989. During this time, she travelled between America and England for her acting jobs. In 1995, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her Broadway performance in A Month In The Country. She was nominated again for Dance of Death in 2002. She has also appeared in numerous films, including The Madness of King George, The Queen and Calendar Girls. She has also worked in television.