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The Devastating Death Of Harry Potter And Peaky Blinders Star Helen McCrory

Helen McCrory, known to audiences as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films and as Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders, has died of cancer at the age of 52. 

McCrory's husband, actor Damian Lewis, announced the news of her death on Twitter on Friday, April 16, 2021. Lewis wrote, "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. 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."

Per The Daily Mirror, McCrory's last public appearance was on March 12, when she and Lewis appeared on Good Morning Britain as ambassadors of Prince's Trust, a charity that supports the career aspirations of young people aged 11 to 30. Her raspy voice was remarked upon, but, in good humor, McCrory said the cause was that she's "got children!" However, a Twitter user remarked at the time that she didn't look well.

The accomplished British actress has been married to Lewis since 2007, and they have two children together: Manon, aged 14, and Gulliver, aged 13.

Helen McCrory's career included a James Bond film and many accolades

According to her TV Guide biography, McCrory was born in Paddington in London, England, but grew up in places like Norway, Nigeria, Cameroon, France, and Zanzibar. She began acting in the early 1990s, and one of her earliest on-screen roles was a bit part in the 1994 film Interview with a Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, featuring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. 

One of her most visible roles was as Draco Malfoy's mother Narcissa in the Harry Potter series, and she was originally slated to play an even bigger part in the franchise until she fell pregnant. According to Entertainment Weekly, McCrory was meant to star as Bellatrix LeStrange beginning with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but when she bowed out, Helena Bonham Carter stepped in. McCrory instead played Bellatrix's sister, starting with the next movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In addition to her starring role in six seasons of Peaky Blinders, McCrory's filmography included high-profile projects — such as her most recent: voicing Stelmaria, Lord Asriel's (James McAvoy) snow leopard daemon, on HBO's His Dark Materials. She also played Madame Kali in Penny Dreadful from 2014 to 2015, Cherie Blair (wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair) in 2006's The Queen and 2010's The Special Relationship, Mrs. Radcliffe in 2007's Becoming Jane, and Clair Dowar, Home Secretary of the U.K., in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall. McCrory also made appearances in Doctor Who, the 2017 miniseries Fearless, and Fantastic Mr. Fox, the 2009 movie based on a Roald Dahl book. In 2000, she played the title character in Anna Karenina

McCrory was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2017. Her other awards include a Welsh BAFTA, the Monte Carlo Best Actress Award, the Royal Television Society's Best Actress Award, and the Critics Circle Best Actress Award.

Our thoughts are with Helen McCrory's loved ones during this difficult time.