Actress Helen McCrory, who played the matriarch of a crime family on Peaky Blinders and the scheming Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, passed away at the age of 52 from cancer.
McCrory’s husband, actor Damian Lewis, announced on Friday that McCrory passed away “peacefully at home” 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. She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you.”Damian Lewis on Twitter
McCrory and Lewis, star of the TV series Homeland and Billions, married in 2007 and had two children.
Helen McCrory was one of Britain’s most respected actors. She made her mark by playing a succession of formidable and sometimes fearsome women.
Most famously, she portrayed the role of a matriarch of a crime family on Peaky Blinders, and the scheming Voldemort ally Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.
Apart from these, she has also played a human rights lawyer dragged into international intrigue in the TV thriller Fearless, and lawyer Cherie Blair (wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair) in the 2006 movie The Queen. McCrory also had significant roles in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and the James Bond thriller Skyfall.
Michael Sheen, who starred as Tony Blair in The Queen alongside McCrory, said she was “so funny, so passionate, so smart, and one of the greatest actors of our time.”
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling tweeted,
“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.”J.K. Rowling
While many female performers struggle to find meaty roles in film and television, McCrory played a string of them. In 2016, while talking to The Associated Press, she said, “Having said that, there are a lot of things I turn down,” about the sort of roles where “all your lines are ‘But what did you do at work?’ ‘That’s so clever, darling.′ ‘How did you do that?’ ‘And then what did you do?’ Of course, there’s so much sexism within the profession. But I think you approach it in different ways, and my approach is just to forge forward.”
While people remembered McCrory for her extraordinary talent, several others remembered her for her charity work, especially that with Feed NHS, a campaign to provide meals for frontline healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic.