British actress Helen McCrory has passed away at age 52, following her battle with cancer.
While speaking about her late friend, director Carrie Cracknell has revealed to BBC’s Today programme that McCrory was adamant that her cancer diagnosis be kept a secret. Cracknell shared:
“Helen wanted to be very private about her illness and I understand why. When you live in the public spotlight you have to find space to protect the things that are just for you. “Very, very few people knew […] We were sworn to secrecy.”
Calling the actresses determination “a remarkable thing”, Cracknell elaborated:
“Her need to be fully alive and be committed and to take things incredibly seriously, such as her family and charity work, defined her last few years for her as much as ever.”
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An Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), McCrory was an icon on the screen. She was well known for her fearsome portrayal of matriarch Polly in ‘Peaky Blinders’ as well as her time as Narcissa Malfoy in the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise. Her other notable roles include Cherie Blair (wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair) in both “The Queen” (2006) and “The Special Relationship” (2010). She even played smaller roles, taking up Hugh Laurie in “Roadkill”. Not forgetting “Quiz”, a fact-based drama about the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” scandal.
McCrory’s husband, actor Damian Lewis (‘Homeland’, ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’), shared the devastating news on Twitter, writing:
“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,”
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His beautiful tribute to his wife of 14 years confirmed that the talented actress passed while surrounded by her friends and family. Following her passing, many fans and colleagues alien have taken to their social media accounts to share their messages for the late actress. Harry Potter author JK Rowling led the tributes, writing that it was “simply heartbreaking news”. The Peaky Blinders team posted a tribute to the actress, who was with them for 30 episodes of the show:
Helen McCrory as Polly Gray
All our love and thoughts are with Helen’s family.
Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/HBEg4Hz2Up
— Peaky Blinders (@ThePeakyBlinder) April 16, 2021
Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight said: “Helen was one of the great actors of her generation. She was so powerful and controlled and this is so sad.” English actor Matt Lucas (best known for his work on ‘ Little Britain’ and now serving as the co-presenter of ‘The Great British Bake Off’) paid tribute to McCrory in a post:
Helen McCrory will be remembered not just for her remarkable stage and screen performances, but also for her selflessness and generosity. She and Damian were the motor driving FeedNHS, working tirelessly during the pandemic to raise millions for others. What a tremendous loss.
— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) April 16, 2021
Indian actor Pooja Chopra expressed her sadness upon receiving the news as well:
— Pooja Chopra (@Pooja_Chopra_) April 17, 2021
McCrory and Lewis raised two children between them, juggling their unique lives around their children. McCrory expressed her desire to be there for her children.
“It’s got to be a damn good offer to coax me away from them. Which is probably why the projects I’ve worked on since they were born have been such interesting ones.”
It’s an incredible loss for the world to accept, especially the British entertainment industry. McCrory was an exceptional icon; may you rest in peace, legend.
*Cover image credits: @wizardingworld / @peakyblindersofficial