Damian Lewis on CBE: My late wife Helen McCrory and I are both ‘thrilled’

·3-min read

Damian Lewis has said that he and his late wife Helen McCrory are both “thrilled” after the actor was made a CBE for a career that has spanned Second World War epics, terrorism thrillers and period dramas.

The 51-year-old television, film and stage star has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to drama and charity.

Among his best known roles are Army Major Richard Winters in the HBO miniseries Band Of Brothers, Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland and Henry VIII in Wolf Hall.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
Damian Lewis with his late wife Helen McCrory after he was made an OBE in 2014 (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Lewis told the PA news agency: “What a great honour to be awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to drama and for the charity work that I have carried out over the years and during the pandemic with my late wife, Helen McCrory.

“Thank you very much. She and I are both thrilled.”

Last year he bowed out of his most recent high-profile role, that of ambitious hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod in Billions, after five series.

During the coronavirus lockdowns, he and his late wife McCrory supported Feed NHS, a fundraiser to give food from high street restaurants to NHS staff and by April 2020 they had raised around £1 million for the charity.

Lewis was born on 11 February 1971 in St John’s Wood, London, and attended Eton College.

After graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1993, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company.

His big break came when he appeared in Jonathan Kent’s production of Hamlet, playing Laertes, and was spotted by Steven Spielberg, who then cast him in Band Of Brothers.

Lewis Jasper Conran – London Fashion Week
Damian Lewis in 2003 (Ian West/PA)

Lewis continued to take jobs in television, film and theatre although his best known roles were on the small screen.

Between 2011 and 2013, he starred as the conflicted Gunnery Sergeant Nicholas Brody in Homeland, an espionage thriller that won multiple awards.

His turn as Axelrod in the Showtime series Billions ran from 2016 to 2021.

Lewis was previously made an OBE in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to drama.

In 2010, he became a trade justice ambassador for the charity Christian Aid.

He is also the co-founder of Feed NHS, an initiative which saw him and his late wife Helen McCrory working with restaurant Leon on the campaign of the same name in a bid to provide NHS workers with meals during the coronavirus crisis.

A JustGiving page shows around £1.2 million was raised for the campaign.

His new honour comes after his wife, acclaimed actress McCrory, died in April 2021 aged 52 following a battle with cancer.

McCrory, known for her work on stage and screen, including playing Narcissa Malfoy in the final three Harry Potter films, died at home in London.

They share two children.