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In pictures: Helen McCrory’s acting career

Helen McCrory in Peaky Blinders

Helen McCrory, who has died aged 52, became well-known in recent years for playing the commanding matriarch, Polly Gray, in the TV series Peaky Blinders.

But much of her career was spent in the theatre. She met her husband, Damian Lewis in a 2003 play called Five Gold Rings at London’s Almeida Theatre.

Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory in Five Gold Rings at the Almeida Theatre London

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She continued to take to the stage even as the period drama about the Shelby clan became a hit – playing the leading role in the National Theatre’s production of Medea in 2014.

Helen McCrory as Medea

image copyright Geraint Lewis / Alamy Stock Photo

McCrory juggled her West End performances alongside roles on the big screen, portraying Narcissa Malfoy in the final three Harry Potter films.

Helen McCrory in Harry Potter

image copyrightPictureLux/ Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

As the film franchise drew to a close in 2011, she set her sights on other international hits – playing Mama Jeanne in Hugo, which received 11 Oscar nominations in 2012.

Helen McCrory in Hugo

image copyrightAF archive / Alamy Stock Photo

That year also saw her play the MP Clair Dowar in the James Bond instalment Skyfall.

Helen McCrory in Skyfall

image copyrightEverett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

It was not her first time playing a figure in the British political world, having appeared on screen as former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife Cherie twice – in the 2010 film The Special Relationship and in the 2006 release The Queen.

Helen McCrory in The Queen

image copyrightAlamy Stock Photo

The National Theatre’s artistic director Rufus Norris said McCrory was “unquestionably one of the great actors of her generation”.

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