- Film & TV
- 13 Dec 21
As part of The Guardian's Observer's obituaries of 2021, Murphy remembers McCrory, who passed away in April.
Cillian Murphy has shared a heartfelt tribute for Helen McCrory.
McCrory, who died aged 52 on April 16, 2021, portrayed Polly Gray on BBC's Peaky Blinders alongside Murphy. Following her death, tributes poured in from all over. "She was just so cool and fun, and had such compassion for everyone she met," said Murphy at the time. "I was kind of in awe about how she lived her life – the way she balanced her work and her family so beautifully."
As part of The Guardian's Observer's obituaries of 2021 series, the Irish actor has shared more memories that he had with his late Peaky Blinders co-star in a touching obituary. Murphy recalled his first time meeting McCrory in the 90s at an audition at London's Donmar Warehouse, saying that she was "really kind and supportive" because she was able to pick up on how nervous he was.
"Helen had this genuine compassion," said Murphy. "It was part of her DNA. She wasn't an actor who turned up, did the gig and went home."
"In terms of acting, I sensed from the start that she was operating on a different level," he added. "She elevated every scene we were given on the page. She would find some small, telling thing and mine it in order to make the scene more emotionally intense."
Throughout the tribute, the Cork native discussed her influential role as Polly, who had a key relationship with Murphy's character Tommy Shelby. "She was his aunt, but sometimes his mother and sometimes his sister. At times, they were almost a husband and wife team," he explained.
He described McCrory as "incredibly private about her illness" and said she would have been in the sixth series of Peaky Blinders if it weren't for the pandemic. Her absence was felt by everyone on set, and she died while they were shooting the season.
"As an actor, Helen was all about truth, dedication, commitment, ambition, empathy. When I think of her best performances, it's her power and her presence that come to mind most of all. As a person, you just run out of superlatives. I guess for me her kindness is what I miss the most. I think about her a lot," he admitted. "I still can't believe she's not here."
Read Murphy's full tribute to McCrory here.
- Sex & Drugs
- 25 Jul 23
- Film & TV
- 20 Jul 23