In early 2007, the 60-something Helen Mirren won her first Oscar for her regal portrayal of 'The Queen.' About a year later, she made headlines again by appearing on the beach in a bikini, and looking really, amazingly good. Usually highly acclaimed and respected grand old dames of the British theater, and veterans of many costume movies, aren't supposed to be sexy. But Mirren is and always has been.
'The Queen' will always be the first and foremost item in her bio, but digging a little deeper, we can find a much more interesting, diverse, tough, and sexy career. Some fans know her as Jane Tennison, the troubled but whip-smart police detective on several 'Prime Suspect' BBC miniseries, made between 1991 and 2006. She was unforgettable wearing boots and a dress and shooting bad guys in last year's 'Red,' arguably the biggest financial success of her career. This week she takes over the spiky, deadpan role made famous by John Gielgud in the remake of 'Arthur,' and doubtless she will give co-stars Greta Gerwig and Jennifer Garner a run for their money.
Early in 2009, Michael Powell's 'Age of Consent' (1969) was finally released on DVD, featuring a ripe, 24-year-old Mirren in a bikini and also quite a bit less; this denies any suspicions that she might have been a late bloomer. She was always in bloom.
Digging a little further back, we have found clips of Mirren's first feature film performance -- in Shakespeare, of course. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is one of the Bard's sexiest and most playful works, but, like Mirren's most recent stab at Shakespeare in 'The Tempest,' this one seems rather wrongly interpreted by the director. It doesn't help that Mirren's romantic interest is played by David Warner, known to many of my generation for his nasty, villainous roles in movies like 'Time Bandits' and 'TRON.'
Regardless, Mirren exudes star power already, flashing a dazzling smile and causing an almost-irresistible need to cuddle her. She practically outshines the equally sexy Diana Rigg, who was best known for being a Bond girl and for her cult TV series 'The Avengers.' Mirren was indeed crush-worthy, both then and now.