On Friday, Helen McCrory — acclaimed English actress, known for Peaky Blinders and the Harry Potter films, in which she played Narcissa Malfoy — passed away at the age of 52, following a battle with cancer. Her husband, Billions and Homeland actor Damian Lewis, was the one to make the news public, saying, “She died as she lived. Fearlessly.” On Sunday, he elaborated further, paying her homage in a lengthy, beautiful tribute published in the Sunday Times.
“As I sit down to write this, I can hear Helen shouting from the bed, ‘Keep it short, Damian, it’s not about you,’” Lewis begins, capturing the spark and the sense of humor that remained till the end. “Only a couple of weeks ago she said to us from her bed, ‘I want Daddy to have girlfriends, lots of them, you must all love again, love isn’t possessive,” he wrote. “‘But you know, Damian, try at least to get though the funeral without snogging someone.’”
Lewis goes on to describe someone who made the most of existence. “I’ve never known anyone able to enjoy life as much. Her ability to be in the present and enjoy the moment was inspirational,” he writes. “Nor was she interested in navel-gazing. No real interest in self-reflection; she believed in looking out, not in. Which is why she was able to turn her light so brightly on others.”
The two met in 2003, when they acted together in Five Gold Rings at London’s Almeida Theater. “Already I miss her,” Lewis writes. “She has shone more brightly in the last months than you would imagine even the brightest star could shine. In life, too, we had to rise to meet her. But her greatest and most exquisite act of bravery and generosity has been to ‘normalize’ her death. She’s shown no fear, no bitterness, no self-pity, only armed us with the courage to go on and insisted that no one be sad, because she is happy. I’m staggered by her. She’s been a meteor in our life.”
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