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The Roles of a Lifetime: Helen Mirren

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In the thick book of unwritten rules governing female actors and professional viability, here’s one: once you’ve portrayed Queen Elizabeth (twice), your glamor days are over—unless you’re Helen Mirren. The British actress has been nimbly sidestepping rules for almost half a century, never shying from frankly sensual roles even as she established herself as a serious actress, and turning dowdy monarchs (including Elizabeth I in the British TV series and Elizabeth II in The Queen) into something quite beautiful, indeed. The above gallery explores Mirren’s body of work, for which she has won multiple awards—including an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a SAG award for The Queen alone, and a damehood in 2003.

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