Culture Trips

Helen McCrory, star of Peaky Blinders and Harry Potter, dies aged 52 | Helen McCrory

The actor Helen McCrory has died at the age of 52. McCrory was best known for her roles in the films The Queen and The Special Relationship and the Harry Potter franchise, and TV series including Peaky Blinders.

Her husband, fellow actor Damian Lewis, confirmed her death via Twitter, saying that McCrory had died “peacefully at home”. Lewis said: “I’m heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died … surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family.”

He added that his wife had “died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly. Go now Little One, into the air, and thank you.”

Born in London to a Welsh mother and Scottish-born father, McCrory spent a year in Italy before studying acting at the Drama Centre. Her film roles included portraying Cherie Blair in Peter Morgan’s The Queen and The Special Relationship in 2006 and 2010 respectively. She also played Narcissa Malfoy in the final three films in the Harry Potter franchise, and appeared in the James Bond film Skyfall. On television, she had a leading role as the Shelbys’ matriarch Polly Gray in the BBC’s period crime drama Peaky Blinders, and appeared in series including Doctor Who, Inside No 9 and His Dark Materials.

In 2020, she appeared in the Hugh Laurie political drama Roadkill on the BBC, and ITV’s Quiz.

McCrory was also an accomplished stage actor, and was nominated for an Olivier for her stage role as Rosalind in As You Like It in at London’s Wyndham’s theatre in 2006.

In 2020, McCrory and Lewis led fundraising efforts to provide hot meals for NHS staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. Their work led to almost £1m in donations to the Feed NHS scheme, and partnerships with chains including Leon and Wasabi.

McCrory is survived by Lewis, whom she married in 2007, and their two children Manon and Gulliver.

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