21 Dame Helen Mirren Quotes for Rogues and Vagabonds

(Last Updated On: February 21, 2021)

There are quite a handful of actors and actresses who made the transition from more classic on-stage theatre to the big screen. Dame Helen Mirren is one of them, which for those keeping track, also has a pretty hefty honorific title attached to her name. Mirren was appointed to damehood in 2003 (for services to drama), followed by a Hollywood star on the Walk of Fame in 2013, and a BAFTA Fellowship in 2014. Filmography awards are no slouch too, but you probably expected 4 BAFTAs, an Academy Award, 4 Primetime Emmys, 3 Golden Globes–we digress. Oh also she once read the Senate torture report. It’s amusing and also upsetting. Anyway, here are some neat quotes from Dame Helen Mirren.


21 Dame Helen Mirren Quotes for Rogues and Vagabonds

On Life & The Self

“You write your life story by the choices you make. You never know if they have been a mistake. Those moments of decision are so difficult.”

“The trick in life is learning how to deal with it.”

“There’s no good way to waste your time. Wasting time is just wasting time.”

“I learned quite early on in life that we are all two people. And one of those people none of us will ever know.”

“I don’t think I have slept in the same bed for more than three or four months my whole life. I am always planting vegetables that I never get to eat and flowers that I never see flower. I have always moved around the world.”

“The control and understanding of our personal fears is one of the most important undertakings of our lives.”

On Age

“It seems to me that the years between eighteen and twenty-eight are the hardest, psychologically. It’s then you realize this is make or break, you no longer have the excuse of youth, and it is time to become an adult – but you are not ready.”

“People become more interesting from about 25 – they develop character and their personalities come out.”

“When you’re 16, 30 seems ancient. When you’re 30, 45 seems ancient. When you’re 45, 60 seems ancient. When you’re 60, nothing seems ancient.”

“When you’re young and beautiful, you’re paranoid and miserable.”

On Film and Acting

“You could build three hospitals with the cost of one film and I take that very seriously.”

“American actors who voice animated movies are so brilliant at it, because by the nature of American speak, it’s full of energy and full of commitment. And as a British actor, we have to kind of learn that.”

“Actors are rogues and vagabonds. Or they ought to be.”

“The role of women has always been undervalued in the spy world, always undermined in terms of recognition. Unfairly so. It’s a world that needs women.”

“I still suffer terribly from stage fright. I get sick with fear. Not every night, but at the beginning and on occasion – not necessarily when I’m expecting it. You just have to cope with it – take it on the chin and work through it, trying to use the adrenaline to perform.”

“All you have to do is to look like crap on film and everyone thinks you’re a brilliant actress. Actually, all you’ve done is look like crap.”

On People

“You can’t control how other people see you or think of you. But you have to be comfortable with that.”

“I don’t throw a lot of parties. I find throwing parties a bit intimidating.”

On Marriage

“It was never my intention to marry anybody. Economics are basically the only reason to get married, but I’m very glad I did it.”

“The great marriages are partnerships. It can’t be a great marriage without being a partnership.”

“There is that awful moment when you realize that you’re falling in love. That should be the most joyful moment, and actually it’s not. It’s always a moment that’s full of fear because you know, as night follows day, the joy is going to rapidly be followed by some pain or other.”


If you need to update your movie watch list, see if you know movies Mirren has appeared in here.

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Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and has just finished his undergraduate at the University of Washington. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019 and has accumulated so much random, general knowledge he'd rather not think about it. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.