Cillian Murphy leads tributes to ‘gifted’ actress Helen McCrory

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Cillian Murphy Leads Tributes To ‘Gifted’ Actress Helen Mccrory
The actor labelled his Peaky Blinders co-star as a “beautiful, caring, funny compassionate human being”. © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Tom Horton, PA

Cillian Murphy has led tributes to the “gifted” actress Helen McCrory, who has died aged 52.

The actor labelled his Peaky Blinders co-star as a “beautiful, caring, funny compassionate human being”.

McCrory’s husband Damian Lewis revealed on Twitter on Friday she had died at home following a “heroic battle” with cancer.

In a statement to the PA news agency Murphy, who plays Tommy Shelby in the crime drama, said: “I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend.

“Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being.

McCrory arriving at a gala screening of Peaky Blinders at the BFI in London (PA)

“She was also a gifted actor – fearless and magnificent. She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played.

“It was a privilege to have worked with this brilliant woman, to have shared so many laughs over the years.

“I will dearly miss my pal. My love and thoughts are with Damian and her family.”

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The official Twitter account for Peaky Blinders also shared a tribute to the actress.

Alongside a picture of McCrory as Aunt Polly, a message said: “All our love and thoughts are with Helen’s family. Rest in peace.”

Actor Michael Sheen, who worked with McCrory on ITV drama Quiz, also praised her in a post on social media.

“So funny, so passionate, so smart and one of the greatest actors of our time,” he tweeted.

“From the first moment I met her when we were just kids it was obvious she was very special.

Michael Sheen (Ian West/PA)

“It was an honour to work with her and know her. Much love to Damian and her family. Heartbreaking.”

William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London and the half-brother of Lewis, said: “We will all miss my sister-in-law Helen McCrory.

“I have many fond memories of her. A huge loss to my family as well as to British acting. Thank you for the messages of condolence and sympathy which people have sent.”

Comedian Matt Lucas, who worked with McCrory on the FeedNHS campaign to supply food for NHS staff amid the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, tweeted: “Helen McCrory will be remembered not just for her remarkable stage and screen performances, but also for her selflessness and generosity.

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“She and Damian were the motor driving FeedNHS, working tirelessly during the pandemic to raise millions for others. What a tremendous loss.”

Asa Butterfield, who starred as a young teenager opposite Helen McCrory in the 2011 big-budget film Hugo, tweeted: “This really really hurts.

“Thank you Helen, for your wisdom, your talent, your generosity. You lit up every room, and the world will miss you.”

Comedian John Bishop, who starred alongside McCrory in ITV drama Fearless, tweeted: “I am shattered to hear this news. Helen was a beautiful supportive person to those of us who had the honour to know or work with her. The world has just lost some of its sparkle.

“My heart goes out to Damian and the family, no words of condolences will ever be enough.”

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Actor Jim Howick, who worked with McCrory and her husband Lewis on the 2015 comedy film Bill, tweeted: “This is so shocking and sad. Helen along with Damien were both terrific fun on Bill.

“She was so generous with her time and her performance. I urge everyone to listen to her Desert Island Disks. What a talent we have lost.”

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