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

LONDON – British actress Helen McCrory, who played Narcissa Malfoy in the last three “Harry Potter” films and starred in a number of other film and television roles, has died, her husband Damian Lewis said on Friday.

She was 52 years old.

“I am broken to announce that the beautiful and powerful Mrs. Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home after a heroic battle with cancer, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family,” wrote Lewis, who won both Emmy and Emmy Golden Globe for his role as Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody on Showtime’s “Homeland”.

“She died while she was alive,” he added. “Fearless.”

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

Jason Isaacs, Helen McCrory and Tom Felton in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 2011.Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

McCrory, the oldest of three children, was born in London and studied acting at the Drama Center, a well-known school that trained stars like Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy.

She played a variety of stage, television and film roles and won a number of awards in the UK. However, her breakout role was “Anna Karenina” in a 2000s TV adaptation of the classic novel. She would continue to appear as Clair Dowar in the James Bond film “Skyfall”.

But for a generation of viewers, she will be best remembered as the wife of Lucius Malfoy, mother of Draco Malfoy, in “Harry Potter,” which she starred in the last three films in the franchise.

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JK Rowling, author of the “Harry Potter” books, called the news “heartbreaking” and tweeted that McCrory was “an extraordinary actress and a wonderful woman who left us way too soon.”

“My deepest condolences to her family, especially her husband and children,” she wrote.

More recently, McCrory has received praise for her role on the BBC series Peaky Blinders, in which she played Polly Gray, the matriarch of the Shelby Family – a fictional criminal gang who lived in Birmingham after the First World War.

The official Twitter account for the drama also paid tribute to the actress. Next to a picture of McCrory in the role was a message: “All of our love and thoughts are with Helen’s family. Rest in peace.”

London Mayor 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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