Harry Potter actress Helen McCrory dies age 52

She was also the matriarch in ‘Peaky Blinders’ and Cherie Blair in ‘The Queen’

Helen McCrory poses on the red carpet as she attends the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards in London. AFP
Helen McCrory poses on the red carpet as she attends the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards in London. AFP

British actress Helen McCrory, known for roles in Harry Potter, James Bond and Peaky Blinders, has died aged 52, her husband said on Friday.

McCrory, a respected theatre actress who played a succession of strong female roles, had been suffering from cancer.

“I’m heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of friends and family,” her actor husband Damian Lewis tweeted.

“She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we loved 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,” Lewis, a star of Homeland said.

In the Harry Potter franchise, she played Narcissa Malfoy, the wife of Lucius Malfoy and Draco's mother, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2.

Author JK Rowling was among the first to pay tribute to the actress.

“I’m devastated to learn of the death of Helen McCrory, an extraordinary actress and a wonderful woman who’s left us far too soon.

“My deepest condolences to her family, especially her husband and children. Simply heartbreaking news.”

McCrory’s other prominent roles included as the MP Clair Dowar in 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, and as Aunt Polly in TV period gangster drama Peaky Blinders.

She was the voice of Stelmaria, Lord Asriel's snow leopard daemon, in the recent BBC One adaptation of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials.

McCrory, who also played the wife of Tony Blair, Cherie, in the film The Queen and won a string of acting awards for her work on the stage and on TV, had two children with Lewis whom she married in 2007.

The couple met performing in the Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing as comedic protagonists Beatrice and Benedick.

She played the eponymous, vengeful Greek heroine Medea at London’s National Theatre in 2014. At the same theatre, she excelled as Hester Collyer, a woman caught between a dull husband and a feckless lover in Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea in 2016.

Updated: April 17, 2021 09:17 AM

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