Billions star Damian Lewis has penned an emotional tribute to late wife Helen McCrory, who died this week of cancer at 52. Writing for The Sunday times, Lewis, 50, said his wife lived by the principle of “kindness and generosity”.
“Her ability to be in the present and enjoy the moment was inspirational. 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 actor wrote.
McCrory, who was best known for her roles as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films and Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders, was a “people person”, Lewis said.
“Many people have spoken about her career and many more will, so that’s where I’ll leave it, because it strikes me that two things are happening this weekend: an outpouring of grief and shock, and a celebration of Helen McCrory the actress from fans everywhere, and of Helen the person. And that’s who I want to talk about,” he wrote.
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) April 16, 2021
“Helen was an even more brilliant person than she was an actress. She was a people person, sure. ‘I’m much more interested in who I’m with than where I am,’ she would say, and innately wanted to share. But she also lived by the principle of kindness and generosity. That you put these things out into the world to make it better, to make people feel better.”
The actor said his wife believed in always spreading happiness.
“Even when dying in her last few days, when talking to our wonderful carers, she repeatedly said, ‘thank you so much’ in her half delirious state,” said Lewis, who married McCrory in 2007 after they met in 2003. The couple has two children – daughter Manon, 14, and son Gulliver, 13.
Lewis said though the actor has left her children “too early, but they have been prepared for life.”
“They have in them the fearlessness, wit, curiosity, talent and beauty of their mother. She has exhorted us to be courageous and not afraid,” Lewis said.
The actor said McCrory had been “utterly heroic in her illness”.
“Funny, of course — generous, brave, uncomplaining, constantly reminding us all of how lucky we’ve been, how blessed we are. Her generosity has extended to encouraging us three to live. Live fully, take opportunities, have adventures.”
“Already I miss her. 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 ‘normalise’ 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,” Lewis concluded.
The actor announced McCrory’s death on Friday in a brief note on Twitter.