As it happenedended1618617713

Helen McCrory death: Peaky Blinders’ Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill lead tributes to ‘dear friend’

Actor has died aged 52

Helen McCrory best moments

Helen McCrory, the stage and screen star known for her roles in the Harry Potter films and the BBC series Peaky Blinders, has died from cancer aged 52.

Actor Damian Lewis, who married McCrory in 2007, shared a statement on Twitter announcing that she had died peacefully at home after “a heroic battle with cancer”. McCrory’s cancer diagnosis had been kept private from the public.

“I’m heartbroken to announce that after a 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,” he wrote in a Twitter post.

“She died as she lived,” he continued. “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.”

Tributes from her Peaky Blinders co-stars flooded in, with Cillian Murphy saying he was broken-hearted to lose a dear friend.

"Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being,” Murphy said.

Sam Neill said she was “Riotously funny and so damn cool”.

“That brilliant woman- the greatest of actors. I so loved our time on #PeakyBlinders. She was witty, kind, skilled,” he said in a tweet.


Harry Potter fans will remember McCrory as Narcissa Malfoy, Draco Malfoy’s mother in the franchise, but McCrory was originally cast to play another role.

She had originally been selected to portray Bellatrix Lestrange – a part that ultimately went to Helena Bonham Carter.

Read more about the roles in the story below:

Clemence Michallon16 April 2021 19:36

The National Theatre has paid tribute to McCrory, celebrating her as “unquestionably one of the great actors of our generation”.

“With her incisive with and ferocious intelligence, she was one of our most charismatic and distinctive performers,” the venue wrote.

Clemence Michallon16 April 2021 19:52

Aisling Bea has joined tributes to McCrory, writing on Twitter: “Every actor looks and looked up to Helen McCrory – so brilliant and gripping and transformative and those who knew her as a friend really loved her.”

Bea also praised McCrory’s performance in the ITV drama Quiz, which aired last year.

Clemence Michallon16 April 2021 20:05

Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy has paid tribute to McCrory, who portrayed Polly Gray in the crime drama.

“I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend,” Murphy told PA. "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.”

Clemence Michallon16 April 2021 20:16

Michael Sheen, who starred with McCrory in ITV’s Quiz, has also paid tribute to his former co-star.

He remembered her as “so funny, so passionate, so smart and one of the greatest actors of our time”.

Clemence Michallon16 April 2021 20:40

McCrory appeared on Good Morning Britain to promote her charity work for The Prince’s Trust just weeks before her death.

The TV appearance received renewed attention on Friday after the news of her death broke.

You can read more about it and watch part of the segment in the story below:

‘Incredible’ Helen McCrory appeared on TV to promote charity weeks before her death

‘Very few people had any idea what she was clearly going through,’ tweeted GB News presenter Dan Wootton

Clemence Michallon16 April 2021 20:52

Benjamin Zephaniah, who plays Jeremiah Jesus in Peaky Blinders, has shared a tribute to McCrory, saying filming without her has been “so difficult”.

“She was a dear friend,” Zephaniah added. “She was humane, intelligent, unflinching, and a fighter to the end. A truly amazing woman.”

Clemence Michallon16 April 2021 21:38

This video of McRory presenting at the BAFTAs in 2019 – and having to use her sunglasses as reading glasses – is getting some renewed attention.

“This is how I will remember Helen McCrory,” the person behind the account @CMurphyFans (originally a fan account for Cillian Murphy, McRory’s Peaky Blinders co-star, with more than 57,000 followers) wrote. “The Peaky Blinders fandom loved her so much, I hope she knew that.”

Clemence Michallon16 April 2021 22:16

‘Riotously funny and so damn cool’: Sam Neill remembers Peaky Blinders co-star

Actor Sam Neill said he was devastated at the death of his friend and Peaky Blinders co-star, Helen McCrory.

“That brilliant woman- the greatest of actors. I so loved our time on #PeakyBlinders. She was witty, kind, skilled,” he said in a tweet.

Justin Vallejo16 April 2021 22:46

James Bond stewards remember Skyfall actress

Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, whose production company owns the film rights to the James Bond franchise, said they were honoured to work with Helen McCrory on Skyfall.

McCrory played the UK Home Secretary Claire Dowar and featured in one of the movie’s biggest set-pieces with Judi Dench’s character, M.

Justin Vallejo16 April 2021 22:55

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