Before her death, actor Helen McCrory repeatedly urged her teenage children to be courageous and not sad about her death, her husband Damian Lewis said.
In a moving tribute to the Peaky Blinders star, Lewis said, “She left our beautiful children, Manon and Gully, too soon, but they were prepared for life.”
In the Sunday Times, Lewis said: “She urged us to be courageous and not to be afraid. As she repeatedly told the children, “Don’t be sad, because even though I am about to take it away, I have lived the life I wanted.” “
McCrory, who was also known for her roles in The Queen, the Special Relationship and the Harry Potter franchise, died of cancer on Friday at the age of 52. to Carrie Cracknell, who directed McCrory in a 2014 production of Medea.
Lewis, an actor himself, admitted that keeping his condition private had caused “a wave of grief and shock.”
He noted that McCrory’s grief was not eclipsed by Prince Philip’s funeral. “On a weekend where the newspapers, rightly so, pay homage to the Duke of Edinburgh, thousands of others around the world remember my Duchess, my little one, royalty in its own right.
Lewis said he wanted to focus on his wife’s professional and personal achievements. “Helen was an even brighter person than she was an actress,” he said, describing her as a “meteor in our life”.
Lewis wrote: “Her nickname for many was Lady Helen (apologies, Lady Helen), and although we’ll never know by now if that would have come true, I secretly think we do.”
Lewis said McCrory was “extremely proud to be an artist, an actress.” He said she was most proud of her work on stage. McCrory once said that “doing theater is what made my heart sing,” Lewis recalls.
Sam Mendes, who directed McCrory in an acclaimed Uncle Vanya production, praised his “explosive energy” on stage. Writing in the Guardian, Mendes said he asked McCrory to play Sonya, but she had other ideas.
“She told me she should play Yelena – the other young female role – and then spent the next hour telling me exactly why. She left the room with the room. This has never happened to me before or since… She was clearly already halfway to giving a superb performance, I just had to pull back and let her finish the job. Which she did, of course, with absolute brilliance.
Lewis recalled that actor Lauren Bacall had falsely praised her for playing Sonya, played by Emily Watson, after a production performance in New York. When Bacall apologized for the mistake, McCrory said, “That’s very good Mrs. Hepburn, I’m glad you enjoyed the show.” Lewis added: “Lauren Bacall threw her head back and laughed and bellowed. “You’re my kind of lady, let’s go out. And they left in the night.
Lewis said that in the weeks leading up to his death, his wife had spoken of his future relationships with women, saying “love is not possessive.”
“She told us from her bed, ‘I want daddy to have girlfriends, lots of them, you all have to love again, love is not possessive, but you know, Damian, at least try to skip the funeral without kissing someone, ‘”he said.