Recently, the world was rocked by the untimely passing of Harry Potter franchise actor Helen McCrory. Dying at the age of 52, she has been remembered in numerous tributes from both fans and colleagues alike in the weekend since her passing was announced. However, the most personal and revealing story came from McCrory’s husband/Once Upon A Time In Hollywood star Damian Lewis, who revealed that his late wife had a rather candid sense of humor when addressing her own family about her passing.
In a tribute published in The Times, Damian Lewis invoked his wife's warm and funny spirit right from the start. Mentioning how she would want him to keep it brief, he launched into stories of Helen McCrory’s acting craft and personal anecdotes about her career and the friends she made along the way. And in the section where he described her final days with her family, Lewis shared this message that Ms. McCrory had said to him and their two children:
I want Daddy to have girlfriends, lots of them, you must all love again, love isn’t possessive, but you know, Damian, try at least to get through the funeral without snogging someone.
This story about Helen McCrory’s candid nature with those she loved most is only part of the free spirited legacy that Damian Lewis recalled in history. In fact, that same sort of energy was what landed McCrory a night on the town with similarly candid acting legend Lauren Bacall, as a case of mistaken identity led to some fun wordplay. Per Lewis’ telling, Bacall had mistakenly congratulated her for Emily Watson’s performance in a production of Uncle Vanya; to which Helen McCrory replied, “That’s alright, Ms. Hepburn. I’m glad you enjoyed the show.”
“Candid” is one of the words that can describe the generous, but very grounded views that Helen McCrory had on life. Serving her well both in the world of making new friends and preparing her family for her death, she had no shortage of candor. This led to Damian Lewis including another statement that she frequently made to their children, Manon and Gulliver:
Don't be sad, because even though I'm about to snuff it, I've lived the life I wanted to.
To be as frank as Helen McCrory was in life is to send the ultimate message about living on your own terms. That’s exactly what she did, and it not only earned her a ton of fans from franchises like the soon-to-conclude HBO Max adaptation of His Dark Materials, as well as the James Bond universe, but it also left those she leaves behind some of the best advice and memories they’ll be able to treasure eternally. Ms. McCrory’s death is a mournful occasion, but as Damian Lewis has proven in his tribute to the woman who he loved, there’s a lot of happiness to remember in this time of great sadness.