Hollywood was in mourning over English stage and screen star Helen McCrory’s death on Friday.
The actress, known for playing Draco Malfoy’s mother in the Harry Potter films and more recently the character of Polly Gray in British drama series Peaky Blinders, lost her battle with cancer at the age of 52. McCrory’s husband, actor Damien Lewis, shared the news, writing that McCrory died as she lived — “fearlessly.”
McCrory’s additional credits include Penny Dreadful and His Dark Materials, among numerous television appearances in a performance career that spanned over thirty years.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was among the first to pay tribute to the actress, writing on Twitter, “I’m devastated to learn of the death of Helen McCrory, an extraordinary actress and a wonderful woman who’s left us far too soon. My deepest condolences to her family, especially her husband and children. Simply heartbreaking news.”
Helen Mirren posted a photo of McCrory on Instagram alongside the caption, “A great actress and a great person. this is so very very sad.”
Little Britain star Matt Lucas remembered McCrory “not just for her remarkable stage and screen performances, but also for her selflessness and generosity.”
Rocketman’s Taron Egerton posted a lengthy message on Instagram, in which he recalled his first job at the National Theatre, working alongside McCrory. “I did my first job with Helen,” wrote the actor. “It was at the National Theatre in Stephen Beresford’s the Last of the Haussmanns. I played a teenage boy who was besotted with her. It wasn’t difficult; she was kind, funny, awe-inspiringly talented and was full of so much life.I bumped into her and Damian many times over the past ten or so years and she was always the same; full of warmth, cheekiness and fun. I will always remember the scenes we shared in that play. She helped make me a better actor. She was amazing. Condolences to her family.”
Cillian Murphy wrote in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, “I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend. Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being. She was also a gifted actor — fearless and magnificent. She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played. It was a privilege to have worked with this brilliant woman, to have shared so many laughs over the years. I will dearly miss my pal. My love and thoughts are with Damian and her family.”
The National Theatre also posted a message in the wake of McCrory’s death, referencing her recent “towering performance” in its production of The Deep Blue Sea. “With her incisive wit and ferocious intelligence, she was one of our most charismatic and distinctive performers,” wrote the theatre.
Read these tributes and more, below.
I’m devastated to learn of the death of Helen McCrory, an extraordinary actress and a wonderful woman who’s left us far too soon. My deepest condolences to her family, especially her husband and children. Simply heartbreaking news.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) April 16, 2021
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
We are devastated to hear of the loss of Helen McCrory. She was brilliant, vivacious, and she made us laugh. A luminous presence on stage and on screen. pic.twitter.com/MlsHLt5MJQ
— The Old Vic (@oldvictheatre) April 16, 2021
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
Helen McCrory was an outstanding talent . One of the finest actors of this generation . Didn’t want this to be true . What a loss 💔 Rest in Peace pic.twitter.com/la0L5X5FKL
— Kathryn Drysdale (@KatkinDrysdale) April 16, 2021
We're sad to hear of the death of actor Helen McCrory. As well as fearless Polly Gray in BAFTA-winning Peaky Blinders, she was in 2007 Best Film BAFTA winner The Queen, amongst many other films and TV shows. pic.twitter.com/1CzeIIYfzE
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) April 16, 2021
We're devastated to hear that Helen McCrory has died and will miss her terribly.
Our thoughts are with her friends and family at this very sad time. pic.twitter.com/Eo2dmviKik
— National Theatre (@NationalTheatre) April 16, 2021
— Will Kemp (@IamWillKemp) April 16, 2021
— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) April 16, 2021
Unbearable and unbelievable that Helen McCrory has gone. A genuine firecracker with an aching vulnerability. A wonderful actor and a wonderful woman. Thoughts with Damian and family. RIP
— Mark Gatiss 💙 (@Markgatiss) April 16, 2021
We're saddened to hear of the death of actor and star of Peaky Blinders, MotherFatherSon and Roadkill Helen McCrory. Read the full tribute from Piers Wenger, BBC Director of Drama: https://t.co/Dlc8bf7hhK pic.twitter.com/lAum12QTdQ
— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) April 16, 2021
Awful news about Helen McCrory. A sublime talent, and, from the couple of brief moments our paths crossed whilst battling Hogwarts, a very lovely person. 52 is no age. Xxx
— Chris Rankin (@chrisrankin) April 16, 2021
What heartbreaking news – the death from cancer of Helen McCrory. She and Damien Lewis raised more than £1m to provide NHS workers with restaurant meals during the pandemic. Philanthropic + formidably talented, clever + kind – what wasn't to love about her? #RIPHelenMcCrory pic.twitter.com/TpU3x93ZzW
— Kathy Lette (@KathyLette) April 16, 2021