Helen McCrory

Helen Elizabeth McCrory, OBE (born 17 August 1968)[1][2] is a British actress.

Helen McCrory

McCrory in 2016
Helen Elizabeth McCrory

(1968-08-17) 17 August 1968
Paddington, London, England
ResidenceSuffolk, England
Years active1990–present
Damian Lewis (m. 2007)

McCrory portrayed Cherie Blair in both The Queen (2006) and The Special Relationship (2010). She also portrayed Francoise in the film Charlotte Gray (2001), Narcissa Malfoy in the final three Harry Potter films, Mama Jeanne in Martin Scorsese's family film Hugo (2011), Clair Dowar in the James Bond film Skyfall (2012), Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders (2013–present), Emma Banville in Fearless (2017) and Kathryn Villiers in MotherFatherSon (2019).

Early life

McCrory was born in Paddington. Her mother, Anne (née Morgans), is Welsh and her father, Iain McCrory, is a diplomat from Glasgow, Scotland.[3] She is the eldest of three children.

She was educated at Queenswood School near Hatfield, Hertfordshire and then spent a year living in Italy. Upon her return to Britain, she began studying acting at the Drama Centre in London.


McCrory won Third Prize at the Ian Charleson Awards for her 1993 performance as Rose Trelawny in Trelawny of the 'Wells' at the National Theatre.[4] In 2002 she was nominated for a London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress (for playing Elena in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya at the Donmar Warehouse). She was later nominated for a 2006 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for her role as Rosalind in As You Like It in London's West End. In April 2008, she made a "compelling" Rebecca West in a production of Ibsen's Rosmersholm at the Almeida Theatre, London.[5]

She appeared in Charles II: The Power and The Passion (2003), as Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine, and in supporting roles in such films as Interview with the Vampire (1994), Charlotte Gray (2001), The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), and Casanova (2005). In The Queen (2006) she played Cherie Blair, a role she reprised in Peter Morgan's follow-up The Special Relationship.

She appeared in a modernised TV adaptation of Frankenstein's Monster, simply called Frankenstein. Her first pregnancy forced her to pull out of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), in which she had been cast as Bellatrix Lestrange (she was replaced by Helena Bonham Carter). McCrory was later cast as Bellatrix's sister Narcissa Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, released in July 2009.[6][7] McCrory reprised her role in the final films, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2; McCrory's performance was well received by fans of the books. She also played the principal villain role of Rosanna Calvierri in the episode "The Vampires of Venice" of the BBC television series Doctor Who.

McCrory starred in The Last of the Haussmans at the Royal National Theatre, which began 12 June 2012. The production was broadcast to cinemas around the world on 11 October 2012 through the National Theatre Live programme.[8]

In 2013, McCrory narrated poetry for The Love Book App, an interactive anthology of love literature developed by Allie Byrne Esiri.[9] Again, in 2013 McCrory played 'Lady Macbeth' at the Little Angel Theatre. The same year, she started playing Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders.

In 2014, McCrory played the title role in the National Theatre's production of Medea, directed by Carrie Cracknell. Also in 2014, McCrory made a guest appearance on the TV series Penny Dreadful. She returned as a regular for the show's second season, playing the main antagonist.

In August 2016, McCrory was confirmed to play Emma Banville in ITV drama series Fearless, which began airing in June 2017.[10]

Personal life

On 4 July 2007, McCrory married actor Damian Lewis. They have a daughter, Manon (b. 8 September 2006), and a son, Gulliver (b. 2 November 2007).[11] They live in north London. She is an honorary patron of the London children's charity Scene & Heard.[12]

McCrory was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to drama.[13]

She now lives in Suffolk.



Year Title Role Notes
1994Interview with the Vampire2nd Whore
1997The James GangBernadette James
1998 Dad SavageChris
2000 Hotel SplendideLorna Bull
2001 Charlotte GrayFrancoise
2002The Count of Monte CristoValentina Villefort
Deep DownDanaShort film
2003Does God Play FootballSarah WardShort film
2004Enduring LoveMrs. Logan
2005CasanovaCasanova's Mother
2006Normal for NorfolkClareShort film
The QueenCherie Blair
2007Becoming JaneMrs. Radcliffe
2008Flashbacks of a FoolPeggy Tickell
2009Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceNarcissa Malfoy
Fantastic Mr. FoxMrs. Bean (voice)
20104.3.2.1.Mrs. Jones
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1Narcissa Malfoy
2011Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
HugoMama Jeanne (Jehanne D'Alcy)
2012Flying BlindDr. Frankie Lethbridge
SkyfallClair Dowar MP
The Cable Club (Soho)StellaShort film
2014A Little ChaosMadame Françoise Le Nôtre
2015The Woman in Black: Angel of DeathJean Hogg
BillQueen Elizabeth I
2016Their FinestSophie Smith
2017Loving VincentLouise Chevalier


Year Title Role Notes
1993Full StretchVicki GoodallEpisode: "Risky Business"
PerformanceJean RiceEpisode: "The Entertainer"
1995Screen TwoJoEpisode: "Streetlife"
Dirty Old TownClaire
1996The Fragile HeartNicola Pascoe3 episodes
Witness Against HitlerFreya von Moltke
1997Trial & RetributionAnita Harris2 episodes
1998Spoonface SteinbergMother
Stand and DeliverChristina
1999Split SecondAngie Anderson
2000Anna KareninaAnna Karenina4 episodes
North SquareRose Fitzgerald10 episodes
2001In a Land of PlentyMary Freeman3 episodes
2002 The JuryRose Davies6 episodes
DickensKate Dickens3 episodes
Dead GorgeousAntonia Ashton
2003Lucky JimMargaret Peel
CarlaCarla French
Charles II: The Power and The PassionLady Castlemaine (Barbara Villiers)
2004Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk StockingJenny Vandeleur
2005Messiah 4 : The HarrowingDr. Rachel Price
2007FrankensteinDr. Victoria Frankenstein
2009LifeAmanda Puryer5 episodes
2010Doctor WhoRosanna CalvierriEpisode:"The Vampires of Venice"
The Special RelationshipCherie Blair
2011Phineas and FerbLucy FletcherEpisode: "My Fair Goalie"
2012We'll Take ManhattanLady Clare Rendlesham
LeavingJulie Ranmore3 episodes
2013–presentPeaky BlindersAunt Polly / Polly Gray30 episodes
2014Inside No. 9TabithaEpisode: "The Harrowing"
Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like ThisMary Kay
2014–2015Penny DreadfulEvelyn Poole (Madame Kali)12 episodes
2017FearlessEmma Banville6 episodes
2019MotherFatherSonKathryn Villiers8 episodes
2019Have I Got News For YouSelf, Host1 episode (Series 58, Episode 7)
2019His Dark MaterialsStelmariaPost Production


Year Title Role Venue(s)
1990The Importance of Being EarnestGwendolen Fairfax
TeechersGail Saunders
1991Pride and PrejudiceLydia Bennet
Blood WeddingThe Bride
1992Fuente OvejunaJacinta
Don't Fool With LoveCamille
1993Trelawny of the 'Wells'Rose Trelawny
1994Venice PreservedBelvidera
The SeagullNina Mikhailovna Zarechnaya
1994–1995The Devil's DiscipleJudith Anderson
1995Keely And DuKeely
MacbethLady Macbeth
1995–1996Les Enfants Du ParadisClaire "Garance" Reine
1998In a Little World of Our OwnDeborah
How I Learned to DriveLi'I Bit
1999The Triumph of LovePrincess Leonide (alias Phocion)
2000–2001PlatonovAnna Petrovna
2002Uncle VanyaHelena Andreyevna Serebryakova (Yelena)
Twelfth NightOlivia
2003–2004Five Gold RingsMiranda
2004Old TimesAnna
2006As You Like ItRosalind
Orson's ShadowVivien Leigh
A Tribute to Look Back in AngerHelena Charles
2008RosmersholmRebecca West
2010–2012The Late Middle ClassesCelia Smithers
2012The Last of the HaussmansLibby Haussmans
2013Macbeth at the Little Angel TheatreLady Macbeth (voice)
2016The Deep Blue Sea[14]Hester Collyer

Awards and nominations

Year Title Award Category Result
1991 Blood Wedding Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards Best Actress Won
1993 Trelawny of the 'Wells' Ian Charleson Award Best Actress 3rd place
1995 Macbeth Shakespeare Globe Awards Richard Burton Award For Most Promising Newcomer Won
Streetlife Monte-Carlo Television Festival Best Actress Won
Royal Television Society Best Actress Won
1997 BAFTA Cymru Best Actress Won
The Fragile Heart London Film Critics' Circle Actress of the Year Nominated
2001 North Square London Film Critics' Circle Best Actress Won
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Actress Won
2002 Uncle Vanya Evening Standard Theatre Awards Best Actress Nominated
2003 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Nominated
WhatsOnStage Awards Best Actress in a Play Nominated
2004 Charles II: The Power and The Passion Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
2005 L.A. Television Awards Best Actress Nominated
2006 As You Like It WhatsOnStage Awards Best Actress in a Play Nominated
Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress Nominated
2007 The Queen London Film Critics' Circle Supporting Actress of the Year Nominated
2008 Rosmersholm Evening Standard Theatre Awards Best Actress (longlisted] Nominated
2011 The Late Middle Classes WhatsOnStage Awards Best Actress in a Play Nominated
2012 Royal Television Society Best Actress Nominated
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows–Part 2 Gold Derby Awards Ensemble Cast Nominated
The Last of the Haussmans Evening Standard Theatre Awards Best Actress Nominated
2013 Glamour Awards Theatre Actress of the Year Won
WhatsOnStage Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Play Nominated
Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated
2014 Peaky Blinders Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming TV Series and Serials: Actress Won
Crime Thriller Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Medea Evening Standard Theatre Awards Best Actress Nominated
2015 Critics' Circle Theatre Award Best Actress Won
Penny Dreadful season 2 Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
2016 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
The Deep Blue Sea Evening Standard Theatre Awards Best Actress Nominated
WhatsOnStage Awards Best Actress in a Play Nominated


  1. Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916–2005.; at ancestry.com
  2. "Mrs Damian Lewis, professionally known as Ms Helen McCrory Authorised Biography – Debrett's People of Today, Mrs Damian Lewis, professionally known as Ms Helen McCrory Profile". Debretts.com. 17 August 1968. Archived from the original on 27 June 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  3. Lee, The. "Helen McCrory profile". thescotsman.com. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  4. Fowler, Rebecca. "Triumphant first acts". Sunday Times. 13 March 1994.
  5. Spencer, Charles (27 May 2008). "Rosmersholm: passions lost in the gloom". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  6. Adler, Shawn (12 November 2007). 'Harry Potter' Cast Grows: Helen McCrory Joins 'Half-Blood Prince'. MTV. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  7. "EXCLUSIVE: Narcissa cast in Potter 6". Newsround. 9 November 2007. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 9 November 2007.
  8. "The Last of the Haussmans" Archived 5 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine at National Theatre web site
  9. "The Love Book App, poetry read by great actors". Iliterature.net. Archived from the original on 23 September 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  10. "ITV commissions six part drama series Fearless". ITV Press Centre. ITV. 16 August 2016. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  11. "''The Mirror'' article". Mirror.co.uk. Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  12. "Who We Are". Scene & Heard. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  13. "No. 61803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2016. p. N13.
  14. Billington, Michael (9 June 2016). "The Deep Blue Sea review – Helen McCrory blazes in passionate revival". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 22 June 2016.
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