Childhood & Early Life
Helen McCrory was born on 17 August 1968 in Paddington, London, England. Her father, Iain McCrory, is a diplomat from Glasgow, Scotland, and her mother, Anne, is Welsh.
She has two siblings: a brother named John and a sister named Catherine. She grew up in Nigeria, Norway, Cameroon, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Paris, among other places.
She attended Queenswood School in Hertfordshire and then spent some time in Italy. Upon her return to her homeland, she began her education at the Drama Centre in London.
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Helen McCrory began her acting career on stage with the 1990 production of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest.’ The following year, she appeared in the National Theatre's ‘Blood Wedding,’ for which she garnered the Manchester Evening News' Best Actress Award.
In 1993, she played the role of Rose Trelawny in the play ‘Trelawny of the 'Wells'. Her performance earned her the third prize at the Ian Charleson Awards. That year, McCrory also made her television debut, appearing in an episode of ‘Full Stretch’.
She landed a role in ‘Interview with the Vampire’ (1994), an American gothic horror film by Neil Jordan starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. During 1996 and 1997, she made guest appearances in the television dramas ‘The Fragile Heart’ and ‘Trial & Retribution’.
In the early 2000s, the actress featured in the series ‘Anna Karenina’, ‘North Square’ and ‘In a Land of Plenty’. During this time, she also played Francoise in the British–Australian–German movie ‘Charlotte Gray’. The film, directed by Gillian Armstrong, is an adaption from Sebastian Faulks' novel of the same name.
McCrory starred as Rose Davies in the sitcom ‘The Jury’ in 2002. She then appeared alongside Jim Caviezel, Richard Harris, and Guy Pearce in the adventure drama flick ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ the same year. The movie was a modest box office success.
In 2003, she was cast in ‘Charles II: The Power and The Passion’. Written by BAFTA Award-winning writer Adrian Hodges and directed by Joe Wright, the film covers the life of Charles II just before his restoration to the British throne in 1660.
In 2005, Helen McCrory appeared in ‘Casanova,’ playing the role of the titular character’s mother. The following year, she played Cherie Blair in the fictional drama film ‘The Queen’ as well as starred in William Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy ‘As You Like It’.
She acted in the TV film ‘Frankenstein’ (2007), playing Dr. Victoria Frankenstein, a female geneticist who accidentally creates a gigantic monster while growing her son's clone in an effort to prevent his imminent death.
In 2009, she was cast as Narcissa Malfoy in ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’, the sixth instalment in the Harry Potter movies series. She later reprised her role in the film’s sequel ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’.
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In the early 2010s, McCrory performed in the stage production ‘The Late Middle Classes’ as well as in the flick ‘Hugo’ as Mama Jeanne.
In 2014, she joined the cast of the TV series ‘Penny Dreadful’ as Evelyn Poole aka Madame Kali. Also in 2014, she played the titular role in National Theatre's production of ‘Medea.’
She was featured as Sophie Smith in the comedy-drama film ‘Their Finest’ in 2016. In 2017, she starred as Louise Chevalier in ‘Loving Vincent’, an experimental animated biographical drama movie about the life of painter Vincent van Gogh, mainly covering the circumstances of his death. Also in 2017, the actress appeared in six episode of ‘Fearless’.
Family & Personal Life
On 4 July 2007, Helen McCrory got married to English actor cum producer, Damian Lewis. Her husband is known for playing U.S. Army Major Richard Winters in HBO’s miniseries ‘Band of Brothers’ and U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in Showtime’s drama series ‘Homeland.’ Through this relationship, McCrory became the sister-in-law of film director Gareth Lewis.
McCrory and Lewis have two children. Their first kid, a daughter named Manon, was born on September 8, 2006. Their second child, son Gulliver, was born in November 2007. The actress lives with her family in north London.
She is an honorary patron of the children's charity Scene & Heard.
In 2017, she was conferred the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to drama.