Damian Lewis dedicates poetry reading to 'perfect' late wife Helen McCrory

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24:   Damian Lewis attends the 65th Evening Standard Theatre Awards in association with Michael Kors at the London Coliseum on November 24, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Damian Lewis read a poem in memory of his late wife Helen McCrory. (Getty Images) (David M. Benett via Getty Images)

Damian Lewis has spoken in public for the first time since the death of his wife Helen McCrory, at a poetry evening dedicated to her.

The Billions actor read a poem by Irish writer Derek Mahon titled Everything is Going to be All Right at the A Poet For Every Day Of The Year event at London's National Theatre.

According to the Mail Online Lewis, 50, said: "This evening is dedicated to her and it's perfect, because Helen loved the National Theatre. One person whose thunder would absolutely not be stolen was Helen McCrory."

Read more: Damian Lewis pens emotional tribute to 'utterly heroic' wife Helen McCrory

McCrory's children she shared with the Homeland star — daughter Manon, 15, and son Gulliver, 14 — were in the audience, along with actors including Simon Russell Beale, Lesley Sharp, Fay Ripley and Danny Sapani.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23:  Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory arrive at the press night performance of
Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory on a night out to the theatre in January 2020. (Getty Images) (David M. Benett via Getty Images)

Lewis read Mahon's poem which includes the lines: "There will be dying, there will be dying/but there is no need to go into that."

It ends with the phrase: "Everything is going to be all right."

The 900-strong audience were then shown a video of the late Peaky Blinders and Harry Potter star McCrory reading Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.

Lewis is reported to have had his eyes closed throughout the video.

McCrory died aged 52 in April 2021 following a private battle with cancer.

Writer Allie Esiri, who was hosting the event, said: "We dedicated the evening to Helen, and Damian said a few words, but we just wanted to get on and do the show.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Helen McCrory poses in the Press Room at the Virgin TV BAFTA Television Award at The Royal Festival Hall on May 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
A video of Helen McCrory reading poetry was played at the event. (Getty Images) (Jeff Spicer via Getty Images)

"It's what she would have told us to do – 'OK, enough already, get on with the show!'

"She loved poetry and I think she would have been pleased to be kind of here with us. It felt right."

Shortly after the announcement of McCrory's death last year, Lewis wrote an emotional tribute to her in The Sunday Times.

He confessed: "Already I miss her. She has shone more brightly in the last months than you would imagine even the brightest star could shine."

McCrory was awarded an OBE in 2017 for services to drama, and recently had been raising money for the Feed NHS charity, raising £1m in 2020.

Helen McCrory, pictured in February 2020, died of cancer in April 2021. (Getty Images)
Helen McCrory, pictured in February 2020, died of cancer in April 2021. (Getty Images) (Mike Marsland/WireImage)

After studying acting at the Drama Centre in London, she made her film debut in 1994's Interview With The Vampire, and has many film roles to her name including Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series, Cherie Blair in The Queen, and MP Clair Dowar in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall.

Read more: 'Peaky Blinders' pays special tribute to Helen McCrory after death from cancer

Her TV roles include Polly Gray in the BBC's Peaky Blinders, Madame Kali in Penny Dreadful, and more recently Sonia Woodley QC in the TV drama Quiz.

Lewis and McCrory married in 2007.

Watch: Helen McCrory kept her illness a secret right up until her death