Helen Mirren Named Woman of the Year

The Hasty Pudding picks an Oscar winner for its pudding pot.

British actress Helen Mirren—best known for her Oscar-winning portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen and Emmy-winning role in the Prime Suspect serieswill receive the Hasty Pudding Club’s 2014 Woman of the Year Award, honoring “a talented and renowned actress whose performances have garnered international critical acclaim.”

“We look forward to welcoming Ms. Mirren and celebrating and honoring her achievements in a truly unique and memorable way,” said Tony Oblen '14, president of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, in announcing the news.

In the 1960s, Mirren joined the National Youth Theatre, playing the Egyptian queen in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra—a role she would embody two more times during her career. She made her film debut playing a rambunctious teenager in 1969's The Age of Consent, and has worked consistently in her homeland since then. She has been widely praised for performances in more mainstream movies, earning Oscar nominations for her roles in The Madness of King George (1994) and Gosford Park (2001). On the small screen, she has earned additional Emmy awards for portraying Ayn Rand and Elizabeth I.

“Helen doesn’t say, ‘Please love me. Look, I’ll smile nicely, and you’ll love me,’ ” Stephen Frears, who directed The Queen, said in a The New Yorker profile in 2006. “She’s not inviting you in the way other actresses often are. She just says, ‘This is what it’s like,’ and that’s what you love about her. She confronts something, and she doesn’t sentimentalize it.”

Mirren joins an elite list of actresses honored by the nation’s oldest undergraduate drama troupe, among them Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Katharine Hepburn, Jodie Foster, Elizabeth Taylor, Anne Hathaway, Claire Danes, and, most recently, Marion Cotillard.

“How very saucy of the Hasty Pudding organization to offer me their award,” Mirren said in a statement. “As someone who adores Pudding in all its manifestations…Suet, Christmas, Treacle, Bread and Butter, Yorkshire, Plum, Figgy, etc., etc., I am so looking forward to the famous Hasty Pudding.”

The Woman of the Year festivities, will begin at 2:45 p.m. on January 30, 2014, when Mirren will lead a parade through the streets of Cambridge. Following the parade, Hasty Pudding Theatricals will host a celebratory roast for the actress. At 4 p.m., Mirren will be presented with her Pudding Pot at Farkas Hall before Hasty Pudding cast members perform several musical numbers from the group’s 166th production, Victorian Secrets. (Mirren will also receive a tour of the new Hasty Pudding Clubhouse, which recently relocated to the historic Hyde-Taylor House in Harvard Square.)

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