Helen McCrory, 'Harry Potter' and 'Peaky Blinders' star, dies at 52

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LONDON — British actor Helen McCrory, who played Narcissa Malfoy in the final three "Harry Potter" movies and starred in a number of other film and TV roles, has died, her husband Damian Lewis said Friday.

She was 52.

"I'm heartbroken to announce that after an 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,” wrote Lewis, who won both and Emmy and Golden Globe for his role as Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series “Homeland.

“She died as she lived,” he added. “Fearlessly.”

Jason Isaacs, Helen McCrory, and Tom Felton in
Jason Isaacs, Helen McCrory, and Tom Felton in

McCrory and Lewis were married in 2007 and have a daughter Manon, born in 2006, and son Gulliver, born in 2007.

Born in London, McCrory, the eldest of three children, studied acting at the Drama Centre, a well-known school, where stars like Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy all trained.

She would go on to play a variety of stage, TV and film roles, winning a string of awards in the U.K. But her break-out role was as "Anna Karenina" in a 2000 TV adaptation of the classic novel. She would later star as Clair Dowar in the James Bond film "Skyfall."

But to a generation of viewers she will be best remembered as the wife of Lucius Malfoy, mother of Draco Malfoy, in "Harry Potter," which she played in the franchise's final three movies.

Image: English actress Helen McCrory with her husband Damian Lewis after she was awarded an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to drama (Steve Parsons / AFP - Getty Images file)
Image: English actress Helen McCrory with her husband Damian Lewis after she was awarded an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to drama (Steve Parsons / AFP - Getty Images file)

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Calling the news "heartbreaking," JK Rowling, author of the "Harry Potter" books, tweeted that McCrory was "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," she wrote.

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More recently, McCrory was praised for her her role in the BBC series “Peaky Blinders,” which saw her play Polly Gray, the matriarch of the Shelby Family — a fictional crime gang based in the city of Birmingham in the aftermath of World War I.

The official Twitter account for the drama also shared a tribute to the actress. Alongside a picture of McCrory in the role, a message said: "All our love and thoughts are with Helen's family. Rest in peace."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also tweeted that he was "so sad" to hear the news of her death.

McCrory "was an unparalleled talent and made a difference to many young Londoners through her charity work," he tweeted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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