Helen McCrory, the British actor who starred in the Harry Potter series as Narcissa Malfoy, and Polly Gray in the television series Peaky Blinders, died on Friday at the age of 52.
Her husband and actor Damian Lewis announced on social media that she died “peacefully at home” following 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,” Lewis wrote.
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) April 16, 2021
McCrory first appeared as Narcissa Malfoy, Draco Malfoy’s mother in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. She reprised her role in the final two films in the series.
In Peaky Blinders, she played Aunt Polly, the matriarch of the Shelby family. She appeared as Thomas Shelby’s (Cillian Murphy) aunt and the crime family’s treasurer.
McCrory appeared in several other films. She starred as Claire Dower in the 2012 film Skyfall. In the 2006 film Queen, she played former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife Cherie Blair. The late actor also essayed roles in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and the British TV series Fearless.
The Peaky Blinders actor was also known for her stage performances. According to Variety, she began her acting career in theatre and she appeared in over 25 productions including As You Like It, Macbeth, and Pride and Prejudice.
Tributes and condolences began to pour in after the news about her demise broke.
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.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) April 16, 2021
Helen McCrory as Polly Gray
All our love and thoughts are with Helen’s family.A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/HBEg4Hz2Up
— Peaky Blinders (@ThePeakyBlinder) April 16, 2021
Helen McCrory will be remembered not just for her remarkable stage and screen performances, but also for her selflessness and generosity. She and Damian were the motor driving FeedNHS, working tirelessly during the pandemic to raise millions for others. What a tremendous loss.
— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) April 16, 2021
Reacting to her death, co-star Cillian Murphy wrote in a statement, “I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend. Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being. She was also a gifted actor — fearless and magnificent. She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played. It was a privilege to have worked with this brilliant woman, to have shared so many laughs over the years. I will dearly miss my pal. My love and thoughts are with Damian and her family.”
McCrory is survived by her husband and two children, Manon and Gulliver.