Helen McCrory, the English stage and screen actress who appeared in three Harry Potter films, as well as The Queen, Peaky Blinders, and Skyfall, has passed away. She was 52 years old.
Damian Lewis, her actor husband, announced the news on Friday.
“I am heartbroken to announce that Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family, following a heroic battle with cancer,” he wrote in a Twitter post. “She died in the manner in which she lived. Without fear. We adore her and recognise how fortunate we are to have her in our lives. She glowed with such radiance. Now, Little One, ascend into the air and express your gratitude.“
Since the 1990s (her first film role was in 1992’s Interview With a Vampire), McCrory established herself in the United Kingdom theatre, earning a London Evening Standard award for best actress for Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in 2002 and an Olivier Award nomination for As You Like It in 2006.
Following roles in Charlotte Gray and Casanova, her film career took off with her portrayal of Cherie Blair in Steven Frear’s royal biopic The Queen, for which she received a 2006 London Critics’ Circle nomination for best supporting actress. She returned in the sequel, 2010’s The Special Relationship.
Helen McCrory featured in many blockbusters
McCrory was set to play Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 2007, but was forced to withdraw due to her first pregnancy (the role went to Helena Bonham Carter). She was later cast as Bellatrix Lestrange’s sister Narcissa Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and she also appeared in the franchise’s final two films, both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Other notable films include Skyfall, in which he played a British MP, Hugo, in which he played French actress Mama Jeanne, and A Little Chaos, directed by Alan Rickman.
McCrory was cast in one of her most famous roles, Shelby family matriarch Polly Gray, in Peaky Blinders in 2013, and has since appeared in all five seasons of Steven Knight’s hit crime drama. She was most recently seen as a lawyer in the hit ITV miniseries Quiz, which was based on the 2001 scandal surrounding the U.K.’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire TV competition, and in the BBC thriller Roadkill, which she co-starred in with Hugh Laurie.
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