“Heartbroken” stars pay tribute to Helen McCrory

Peaky Blinders stars Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill were among those remembering the actor, who passed away this week aged 52.

Helen McCrory plays PM Dawn Ellison in Roadkill

Stars of stage and screen have paid tribute to Helen McCrory, following the tragic news that the beloved actor has passed away from cancer.

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McCrory’s husband Damian Lewis confirmed the sad news in a statement yesterday, and there has been a flood of tributes on social media from fans and celebrities alike.

Sam Neil, who starred alongside her in the first two series of Peaky Blinders, wrote on Twitter, “Devastated my friend Helen McCrory died today. That brilliant woman – the greatest of actors. I so loved our time on Peaky Blinders. She was witty, kind, skilled. Riotously funny… and so damn cool. So young. Heartbroken for Damien and her family.”

Another Peaky Blinders star, Annabelle Wallis, wrote on Instagram, “The most powerful life force. The most ferocious and commanding actress. I learnt so much watching you work, watching you light up the room with your intelligence and wit. Your laughter infectious.

“Thank you for the whiskey fulled rehearsals late into the night. Thank you for showing me that it’s okay to not take s**t. You will be deeply missed. My heart goes out to Damien, your children and the entire family.”

The show’s star Cillian Murphy also released a statement, writing, “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.”

And Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight wrote, “Helen was one of the great actors of her generation. She was so powerful and controlled, and this is so sad.”

Meanwhile, Michael Sheen, who had known McCrory for many years, said of the actor, “So funny, so passionate, so smart and one of the greatest actors of our time.

“From the first moment I met her when we were just kids it was obvious she was very special. It was an honour to work with her and know her. Much love to Damian and her family. Heartbreaking.”

Reece Shearsmith posted a photo of himself alongside McCrory on the set of BBC series Inside No 9 and wrote, “Impossible to process the mighty Helen McCrory has passed. I worked with Helen on stage and of course we were lucky enough to get her in “Inside No 9″. She was always immaculate and brilliant. An unfathomable loss. RIP. ”

Noel Clarke wrote, “RIP Helen McCrory you were the best and always lovely to me. It was a pleasure to work with you. Love ya. Blessings to Damian and the family.”

McCrory was known by many for her role in the final three Harry Potter movies, where she played Narcissa Malfoy, and franchise star Daniel Radcliffe remembered their time working together in a statement (via Metro).

“I truly couldn’t believe this news when I heard it. Helen was one of the most incredible actors I got to work with on the Harry Potter films,” he said.

“She was effortlessly commanding and captivating as an actor, as well as being kind, generous and incredibly good fun as a person.

And Pembrokeshire Murders star Luke Evans posted, “Every time I met you, I was a little nervous. But you were always so gracious to me. Your body of work is testament to the phenomenal actor you were. You always shined gracefully on and off screen. You’ll be missed. Love and thoughts to Damien and family.”

McCrory was among the most celebrated actors of her generation, with notable credits including Cherie Blair in both The Queen (2006) and The Special Relationship (2010), Mama Jeanne in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011) and Clair Dowar in the James Bond film Skyfall (2012).

Her most recent credits were as Sonia Woodley QC in ITV’s acclaimed mini-series Quiz and as Prime Minister Dawn Ellison in BBC One drama Roadkill, both aired in 2020, alongside her voice role as Stelmaria in His Dark Materials (including one episode in December 2020).

It is not clear whether she was well enough to feature in the sixth and final series of Peaky Blinders, which is currently in production. RadioTimes.com has reached out to the BBC for comment.

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