Helen McCrory, known for playing Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders and Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, has died from cancer at 52.
Helen McCrory, known for playing Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders and Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, has died from cancer at 52. An acclaimed veteran of both the stage and screen, McCrory leaves behind a proud legacy and an extensive body of work. She is survived by her husband, actor Damian Lewis, and their two children.
Born in Paddington, England, McCrory studied acting at London’s prestigious Drama Centre and went on to make a name for herself on the stage in the 1990s. She continued performing in live plays throughout her career, playing major roles in some of London’s biggest theaters, including the Royal National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe. McCrory also had a long and acclaimed career in film and television, appearing in movies like Skyfall, Hugo, and Loving Vincent. She was originally set to play Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but she left the role due to her first pregnancy, later returning to the franchise as Bellatrix’s sister Narcissa. McCrory played gangster Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders since its first season in 2014.
McCrory’s husband Damian Lewis announced the news of her death on Twitter. “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 love from friends and family,” Lewis wrote. “She died as she lived. Fearless. God we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly.”
Respected by those who knew her and loved by those who watched her, McCrory will be remembered as a titan of the industry that she dedicated her life to. Her role as Polly in Peaky Blinders may be the crowning performance of her career – a performance that delivered some of the most powerful moments in recent TV history, and which broke molds for female characters in the crime drama genre. Her presence on screen was superseded only by her immense talent.
Our thoughts are with McCrory’s family and those who were closest to her during this time. Her loss will also be felt by fans around the world who were captivated and inspired by the fire she brought to every one of her roles. From Lady Macbeth and Polly Gray to Cherie Blair and Narcissa Malfoy, Helen McCrory never failed to deliver her absolute best every time she took the stage.