Helen McCrory, who played Narcissa Malfoy, dead from cancer at 52

Apr 19, 2021

Posted by: Amanda Kirk


It is with a heavy heart that Leaky confirms the news that actress Helen McCroy passed away at her home on 16 April at the age of 52. Her cause of death was cancer, a diagnosis she had kept private, leading to her death being an unpleasant shock for the Harry Potter fandom and all who knew and appreciated her acting and charitable work.

Leaky readers will know her for playing Narcissa Malfoy, mother of Draco, wife to Lucius, and sister to Bellatrix LeStrange and Andromeda Tonks, in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2

Outside of the Harry Potter franchise, McCrory was a prolific and well-respected actress of both stage and screen. Other projects that McCrory has worked on include playing Cherie Blair in The Queen and The Special Relationship, MP Claire Dowar in Skyfall, and Polly on all six seasons of the BBC series Peaky Blinders. She appeared at the National Theatre most recently in Medea and The Deep Blue Sea. Artistic director Rufus Norris called her “unquestionably one of the great actors of her generation….With her incisive wit and ferocious intelligence, she was one of the most charismatic and distinctive performers.”

Her Peaky Blinders costar, Cillian Murphy, said, “She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played.” That was certainly true of her portrayal of Narcissa Malfoy, who memorably kept silent about Harry’s fate in exchange for news of her son.

Her Husband, Damian Lewis, whom she met when they were both appearing in Five Golden Rings at the Almeida Theatre in London back in 2003 and married in 2007, Tweeted the heartbreaking announcement of her death:

McCrory spoke to the BBC Coronavirus News Podcast in April 2020 about her family’s life during the pandemic lockdown. She said “We’re all doing our bit and not going out. It sort of seems, as Damian says, it’s fantastical. You think you’re absolutely fine, you’re pottering along, you’re coping with it. Cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking. And you suddenly burst into tears.” She continued by adding  “And it’s this fear, and it’s the vulnerability coming out, and then you pick yourself up and you go along again as if nothing happened. And it’s very surreal.”

McCrory and her husband raised £1 million to give restaurant meals to NHS workers during the pandemic.

In addition to her husband, McCrory is survived by her two children, a daughter Manon, 14 ,and a son, Gulliver, 13.

Let us all join together and raise our wands in memory of this brave woman who lost her life far too soon.

What is your favorite scene with Narcissa Malfoy in it from the Harry Potter films? Let us know in the comments.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.