NEWS

News: 19 April 2021

Helen McCrory: A Tribute

Helen McCrory, right, with Damian Lewis, launching 2016's Keats-Shelley Prize

​Everyone at the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association and Keats-Shelley House was deeply saddened by the death of the much-loved actress Helen McCrory, who died last week aged just 52.

In 2016, Helen gave a dazzling performance at a breakfast-time event that helped launch the Keats-Shelley and Young Romantics Prizes. Together with her husband Damian Lewis, Helen read from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to a packed house at Albemarle Street, and dramatized the novel’s famous creation, with Helen playing Mary Shelley and Damian Percy Bysshe. After delivering a superb performance, Helen was just as generous with her time, talking to the winners of 2016’s Keats-Shelley and Young Romantics Poetry Prizes.

Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory with 2016 Keats-Shelley Poetry Winners, Riona Miller and Will Kemp

In a career spanning over two decades, Helen McCrory won acclaim on stage and screens both large and small. Notable roles include Olivia in the Donmar Warehouse’s 12th Night and Medea at the National, for which she won Critics’ Circle Theatre Award. Her most recent television roles included typically bravura performances in Peaky Blinders and Penny Dreadful, while her memorable movie credits included Harry Potter, Fantastic Mr Fox and my own personal favourite, Sophie Smith in Their Finest.

Watch Helen and Damian reading from Frankenstein at the Keats-Shelley Prize launch in 2016, below.

Helen was also a passionate poetry lover, appearing at festivals and events (often with Damian Lewis) to read works extending from Shakespeare to Shelley. Listen to them reading works by Romantic poets here. The couple were also tireless supporters of good causes – during the Covid-19 pandemic they helped raise over £1 million to support the charity Feed NHS.

We send our deepest condolences to Helen’s family.

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