'Harry Potter' actress Helen McCrory has died at 52

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Kelly McLaughlin,Kirsten Acuna
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Helen McCrory
Helen McCrory in February 2020. Getty Images
  • The actress Helen McCrory died of cancer, her husband, the actor Damian Lewis, said on Friday.

  • She was 52 years old.

  • McCrory played Narcissa Malfoy in the "Harry Potter" film series and Polly Gray in "Peaky Blinders."

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Helen McCrory, the actress who starred as Narcissa Malfoy in the "Harry Potter" film series and Polly Gray in "Peaky Blinders," has died of cancer. She was 52.

McCrory's death was announced by her husband, the actor Damian Lewis, on Friday.

"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," Lewis tweeted.

"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."

Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory
McCrory and Damian Lewis at a Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit in 2012. AP Photo/Evan Agostini

McCrory began her career on the stage performing at London's West End before appearing in films including "Interview With the Vampire" (1994), "Casanova" (2005), and "The Queen" (2006).

Originally cast as the villain Bellatrix LeStrange, McCrory later joined the "Harry Potter" franchise as Bellatrix's sister, Narcissa Malfoy, in 2009's "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

narcissa lucius malfoy
McCrory played Narcissa Malfoy in the final three "Harry Potter" films. Warner Bros.

McCrory played Draco Malfoy's mother in the franchise's final three films.

"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," the "Harry Potter" creator J.K. Rowling tweeted. "My deepest condolences to her family, especially her husband and children. Simply heartbreaking news."

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In recent years, McCrory returned to her roots, starring as Lady Macbeth at London's Little Angel Theatre. McCrory also appeared on "Peaky Blinders" and "Penny Dreadful."

Lewis and McCrory met in 2003 when they were both starring at a theater production of "Five Gold Rings" in London. The two were married four years later.

McCrory told the Radio Times in 2017 that she never really had the image of being a mother or a wife. Growing up in Africa, she said she was "very much without the influence of advertising or being told what a girl should be or what I should aspire to be."

Then Lewis came into the picture. "Everyone in life wants someone to love and be loved by, but I think I was always just engrossed and involved in work," McCrory told the Radio Times. "The timing was pure fluke, pure chance. It always is, isn't it?"

McCrory and Lewis had two children, Manon, 14, and Gulliver, 13.

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