Actress Helen McCrory dies aged 52

Tom Horton and Alex Green, PA
·2-min read

Helen McCrory has died from cancer aged 52, her “heartbroken” husband Damian Lewis has said.

The “beautiful and mighty” actress, who was known for starring in hit crime drama Peaky Blinders and James Bond film Skyfall, died peacefully at home, he said.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

In a tweet on Friday afternoon, Lewis wrote: “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.

“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 was known for playing Shelby family matriarch Aunt Polly in the BBC gang drama Peaky Blinders.

Brit Awards 2018 – Arrivals – London
Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory (Ian West/PA)

She also starred in ITV drama Quiz and a number of the Harry Potter films.

The actress also played Cherie Blair, wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, in both The Queen and The Special Relationship.

Actor Jim Howick, who worked with McCrory and Lewis on the 2015 comedy film Bill, paid tribute to McCrory, tweeting: “This is so shocking and sad. Helen along with Damien were both terrific fun on Bill.

“She was so generous with her time and her performance. I urge everyone to listen to her Desert Island Disks. What a talent we have lost.”

Broadcaster Rev Richard Coles also paid tribute, tweeting: “Very sorry to hear of the death of Helen McCrory, such a brilliant actor; heartfelt condolences to Damian Lewis, their children, and all who loved her.”

Actor and director Noel Clarke said: “RIP #HelenMcCrory you were the best and always lovely to me. It was a pleasure to work with you. Love ya. Blessings to Damian and the family.”

McCrory was born in Paddington, London, to a Welsh mother and Scottish-born father and was the eldest of three children.

She attended school in Hertfordshire, then spent a year living in Italy, before returning to London to study acting at the Drama Centre.

McCrory and Lewis married in 2007 and share a daughter Manon, born in 2006, and son Gulliver, born in 2007.

She was made an OBE in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to drama.