Helen McCrory, the British actress best known for her roles in the Harry Potter film franchise, Skyfall, and the crime drama Peaky Blinders, has died at the age of 52 following a battle with cancer.
McCrory’s husband, actor Damian Lewis, confirmed news of his wife’s passing in a statement on Friday. “Heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and might woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family,” Lewis wrote. “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.”
McCrory began her career on the stage with early roles in adaptations of MacBeth, Pride and Prejudice, and Trelawny of the ‘Wells’, for which she won Third Prize at the Ian Charleson Awards honoring young actors in classical stage performances. Even as her career on film and television picked up, McCrory remained devoted to the theater and earned further acclaim for her roles in Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, Shakespeare’s As You Like It, and Ibsen’s Rosmersholm.
Her first major role in film came with 2006’s The Queen, where she portrayed Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Three years later, she made her debut in the Harry Potter franchise as Narcissa Malfoy in 2009’s Half Blood Prince. She reprised the role in the final two Harry Potter films, Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2. In 2012, McCrory appeared in the James Bond film Skyfall.
Perhaps McCrory’s most memorable role was as Polly Gray in the BBC period crime drama Peaky Blinders, on which she appeared in 30 episodes over five series. She also starred on the Showtime horror drama Penny Dreadful and voiced Stelmaria, Asriel’s daemon, on HBO’s His Dark Materials.