Helen McCrory, ‘Peaky Blinders’ and ‘Harry Potter’ Actress, Dies at 52

Husband Damian Lewis says she died peacefully after a “heroic battle” with cancer

Helen McCrory
Photo: Getty Images

Helen McCrory, a British actress known for her work in “Peaky Blinders” and in the “Harry Potter” films, has died. She was 52.

McCrory’s husband, “Billions” actor Damian Lewis, announced the news in a tweet Friday, saying she died peacefully after a “heroic battle” with cancer.

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

McCrory played Aunt Polly Gray in “Peaky Blinders” between 2013-2019, and she also starred as Narcissa Malfoy, Draco Malfoy’s mother, in the “Harry Potter” franchise, appearing in three films in the series.

Some of her other credits include “The Queen,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Hugo,” “Skyfall” and on TV the series “Fearless,” “Quiz,” “Roadkill” and most recently “His Dark Materials.”

Helen McCrory got her start in theater, winning a prize for playing the lead in the 1993 production “Trelawny of the ‘Wells’” at the Royal National Theatre in London. Some of her other theatrical roles included a part as Rosalind in a production of “As You Like It,” “Medea” and Isben’s “Rosmersholm.”

Around the time she started her acting career, she also landed a bit part in “Interview With a Vampire” and would appear in films such as “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “Casanova” and “The Queen.” In “The Queen” she portrayed Cherie Blair, and she would later reprise that part for Peter Morgan’s follow-up “The Special Relationship.”

Though she would eventually play Narcissa Malfoy, McCrory was originally cast as Bellatrix Lestrange in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” a part that eventually went to Helena Bonham Carter, but she was forced to drop out of the film due to her pregnancy and would eventually join the franchise for the sixth film “The Half-Blood Prince.”

McCrory won a Wales BAFTA Award for her work in the 1995 film “Streetlife,” and she’s been nominated for a Critics Choice TV Award for “Penny Dreadful,” a London Critics Circle Award for “The Queen” and the National Film Awards, UK for “Peaky Blinders.”

McCrory married Lewis in 2007 and had two children, a daughter and a son.



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