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Helen McCrory, versatile actress who dominated the stage and shone on screen in Peaky Blinders and The Queen – obituary

The Telegraph’s Charles Spencer put her in his ‘pantheon of actors whose name in the programme always creates the anticipation of pleasure’

Helen McCrory, who has died of cancer aged 52, made her name as a subtle and intelligent stage performer, and later bucked the trend that consigns actresses to oblivion in middle age, becoming one of Britain’s most sought-after television stars in her 40s.

In the first decade of the new millennium she was hailed as one of the most promising presences in British theatre. Writing in the Telegraph in 2002, Jasper Rees placed her in the tradition of Judi Dench, Zoë Wanamaker and Imelda Staunton as “the small, punchy actress with a voice that can coat a back wall in honey from 100 paces.”

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John Vincent, CEO of Leon Restaurants, Reflects On Helen McCrory

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Helen McCrory  CREDIT: Andrew Crowley /Telegraph

In the last year, Helen McCrory became a close colleague as we worked alongside her, her husband, Damian Lewis, and actor Matt Lucas on the #FeedNHS campaign. At the height of the first lockdown we spoke nearly every day and served over a million meals to NHS workers on the frontline.

On Friday afternoon, I was in my office when I heard the news.

My immediate thought was, no, they’ve got that wrong. People must have confused her with someone else. Just the day before, I had been writing about Helen, Damian and Matt, for Letters From Lockdown, a compilation of notes to two children about people’s lives in the past year. How could it be that she had passed away? I was shocked.  

I didn’t know Helen was ill. I don’t know how long she was receiving treatment, nor what type of cancer she had. Part of me wondered if I should have known, if other people knew and I didn’t. Was there something I missed?

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‘In the last 12 months of her life, Helen McCrory used her power to help those who help us

In her final year, living with an illness she kept private, McCrory used her remaining energy to give back

Helen McCrory and Damian Lewis launched a project to provide NHS workers on the frontline with hot meals. Lewis had just halted production on Billions and flown back from New York for lockdown; McCrory had paused filming the sixth series of Peaky Blinders. Parents to two children, they could have been excused a rest. Instead the couple’s campaign #FeedNHS raised more than £1m.

When Lewis announced that his wife of 14 years had died, aged 52, “after an heroic battle with cancer”, that campaign took on an added poignancy: in her final year, living with an illness she kept private, McCrory used her remaining energy to give back.

I interviewed McCrory and Lewis about #FeedNHS exactly a year ago. They were in lockdown in Sudbury, Suffolk, with their children, Manon, 14, and Gulliver, 12, and sounded less like television’s most eminent couple and more like professional fundraisers.

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In Memoriam: Helen McCrory

A tribute to Helen McCrory and her extensive filmography

by Carly Horne | April 17, 2021 | The Courier

Following the announcement of Helen McCrory’s death on Twitter by husband Damian Lewis, comes the reflection of a life and career so full of exuberance and love. Although hers was a life cut far too short, it was also one marked by displays of endless generosity and incomprehensible levels talent which will surely be missed by all.

My first exposure to Helen McCrory came with the release of Skyfall in 2012. Something about her portrayal of Clair Dowar MP, a minor role relative to the scale of the film, just mesmerised me.

As Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, she shone. The mother of school bully, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) and wife to notorious Death Eater, Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) – Narcissa could easily have been a two-dimensional character. A ‘bad’ character. It’s hard to get away from the fact Narcissa Malfoy was a prejudicial pure-blood, but Helen McCrory brought so much humility and poise to what might have otherwise been an insignificant role.

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Helen McCrory: a towering, irreplaceable figure of stage and screen

Helen McCrory had star quality

by The Newzly Desk |April 16, 2021 | The Newzly
Helen McCrory: a towering, irreplaceable figure of stage and screen
Helen McCrory’s final stage performance now stands as a monument to a towering, irreplaceable figure of stage and screen. In 2016, as Hester Collyer in The Deep Blue Sea, she turned Terence Rattigan’s heroine into a woman who is simply too big for the confining 1950s world she has been born into. The performance was a gift; she electrified every inch of the National Theatre’s stage.