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Hasty Pudding Celebrates Helen Mirren as Woman of the Year in Parade and Roast

By Callie H. Gilbert and Brianna D. MacGregor, Crimson Staff Writers

Wearing a fur-trimmed white hat and black leather gloves, award-winning British actress Helen Mirren—Hasty Pudding Theatricals' Woman of the Year—waved and smiled at the crowd lining Massachusetts Ave., as she and members of the Pudding cast paraded through the streets of Harvard Square.

Mirren’s acting career, spanning decades, has earned her an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, and four Emmy wins for her numerous film and theater performances from “The Queen” to “Gosford Park.”

She joined an elite group of previous Woman of the Year recipients including actresses Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, Claire Danes, and last year’s winner Marion Cotillard.

After the parade, Hasty Pudding Theatricals President Tony T. Oblen ’14 and Vice President Ethan D. Hardy ’14 officiated a celebratory roast of the actress in Farkas Hall, the home of the Pudding Theatricals. Pudding cast members played charades with Mirren, competed against her in a trivia game entitled “Are you Smarter Than Helen Mirren?”, and presented her a nerf gun to shoot at photos of the many awards she has earned throughout her career.

The audience in Farkas Hall laughed and applauded as Mirren acted out her final charade clue, “Twerking.” During a press conference after the roast, Mirren remarked that she had only ever practiced “twerking” in her bedroom.

Hasty Pudding cast members dressed as various reincarnations of Mirren’s previous roles and co-stars, including Al Pacino and Nicholas Cage.

In their welcoming speech, Oblen and Hardy introduced Mirren, known for her portrayal of three different British queens, as “the only British actress not in the Harry Potter series.”

When Mirren took the stage, she humorously described her trip to Harvard as “a ghastly experience.”

At the press conference following the roast, Mirren addressed the role of women in film.

“You don’t worry about roles for women in drama,” she said. “If there are great roles for women in life, then there will be great roles for women in drama.”

Following the presentation of the traditional Pudding Pot, several Hasty Pudding cast members performed a sample of musical numbers from their 166th production, “Victorian Secrets.”

Despite the cold, onlookers lined the sidewalks of Mass. Ave. to catch a glimpse of Mirren. During the procession, representatives from local radio stations handed out free t-shirts, a b.good food truck advertised free milkshakes, and Shake Shack employees distributed coupons for free frozen custard.

“I was really excited about it because she’s one of my favorite actresses,” said Lejla Skokic ’17, who attended the parade. “I’m so glad I was able to come to the parade today and actually see her in person. The crowd was huge and people were freaking out to see her.”

—Staff writer Callie H. Gilbert can be reached at

—Staff writer Brianna D. MacGregor can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @bdmacgregor.

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