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Helen McCrory (1968–2021), “Harry Potter,” “Peaky Blinders” actress

by Linnea Crowther

Helen McCrory was an English actress known for roles including Narcissa Malfoy in the final three “Harry Potter” movies.

Acting career

McCrory was already a well-established actress in the U.K. before she joined the Harry Potter cast for 2009’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” In fact, she had intended to take an earlier Harry Potter role, playing Bellatrix Lestrange beginning with 2007’s “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” But she had to drop the role due to her pregnancy, and she was replaced by Helena Bonham Carter. McCrory was also well known for starring as Polly Gray on the BBC period crime drama “Peaky Blinders,” beginning in 2013. Her notable movies include “The Queen” (2006), “Hugo” (2011), and “Skyfall” (2012). She had a role on the Showtime series “Penny Dreadful,” as well as making appearances on TV shows including “Doctor Who” and “His Dark Materials.”

McCrory on her preference for playing complex characters

“I just want to see what she feels and what she thinks. To fill the screens with women who are walking around in six-inch stilettos and telling everyone what to do is as uninteresting to me as filling them with bimbos in bikinis falling into pools and laughing at your jokes. Neither are particularly interesting.” —from a 2016 interview for the Independent

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Tributes to Helen McCrory

Full obituary: Deadline

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