Too Sexy To Be Serious?

Long before she was a respected Dame, acclaimed actor Helen Mirren was a hot dame - in some ways, too hot for her own good .

The young Mirren first made an impact on the London stage in the National Youth Theatre. By her early twenties the Russian/British beauty had proved herself a performer of substance in The Royal Shakespeare Company. But as accomplished as she was, it wasn't Mirren's way with iambic pentameter that really got her noticed - it was her raw eroticism and voluptuous curves.

Even today, the mature Mirren is admired both for her spectacular acting and her sensuality; just recently she was dubbed Body of the Year by an L.A. Fitness poll.  At this point in her career she's considered one of the great actors of our time so being hot just adds to her cachet.

That wasn't always the case. In many ways, the lust she aroused got in the way of her talent. It made her have to work harder to prove that she was more than just a sex symbol. However, Mirren's screen debut in the rarely seen - and some say - highly influential experimental film Herostratus did little to dispel that notion.

By the time Mirren was interviewed in 1975 by British broadcasting icon Michael Parkinson, her list of classical and contemporary stage credits had grown ever more impressive. This was no talentless Hollywood hottie whose stardom was a fluke of popular culture. Yet, Parkinson wrapped his questions to Mirren in an attitude of leering condescension that was part Benny Hill , part Austin Powers. Mirren, seeming flustered, and defensive, was clearly taken aback, especially when Parkinson wondered if she could really be a "serious" actress given her "physical attributes".

Years later when the elderly Parkinson once again interviewed Mirren, now a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and an international star of stage and screen,his tone was highly respectful and her demeanor was confident and commanding. Times had changed and time had changed them.

Mirren has aged exceedingly gracefully and become performing royalty. The sultry, young seductress has evolved into a woman of substance. She can be a role model for all those beautiful up-and-coming ingenues, as long as they remember one vital thing. As a young woman Mirren wasn't just sexy, she wasn't just talented, she was - and is- devoted to the craft of acting. Think of all those years she spent perfecting her abilities on stage! You can't just by-pass that part of the equation and end up being such a strong, lasting presence.

Here she is in her Oscar-winning role as that stalwart and long-lived monarch, Queen Elizabeth. Long Live Dame Helen!

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