Damian Lewis has honored his late wife Helen McCrory with a touching tribute.
The Homeland alum, who currently stars on Billions, penned a eulogy for the actress, known for roles in Peaky Blinders and the Harry Potter films, in The Sunday Times on Sunday, April 18. Two days earlier, Lewis announced on Twitter that McCrory, mother of their daughter Manon, 14, and son Gulliver, 13, had died at age 52 after battling cancer.
“Helen was an even more brilliant person than she was an actress,” the 50-year-old actor wrote in The Sunday Times. “She was a people person, sure. ‘I’m much more interested in who I’m with than where I am,’ she would say, and innately wanted to share. But she also lived by the principle of kindness and generosity. That you put these things out into the world to make it better, to make people feel better.”
Lewis, who wed McCrory in 2007, said he has “never known anyone so consciously spread happiness” and that even on her deathbed, she repeatedly thanked her caregivers. He said she always “over-tipped,” especially taxi drivers and wait staff, a job she once had herself. The actor said McCrory always “made each person she met feel special, as though they were the only person in the room.”
“I’ve never known anyone able to enjoy life as much,” Lewis wrote. “Her ability to be in the present and enjoy the moment was inspirational. Nor was she interested in navel-gazing. No real interest in self- reflection; she believed in looking out, not in. Which is why she was able to turn her light so brightly on others.”
Lewis said their children Manon and Gulliver “have in them the fearlessness, wit, curiosity, talent and beauty of their mother.” He said McCrory told the kids repeatedly, “Don’t be sad, because even though I’m about to snuff it, I’ve lived the life I wanted to.”
The actress also encouraged her husband to move on after her death. Lewis wrote, “Only a couple of weeks ago she said to us from her bed, ‘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 though the funeral without snogging someone.”
Lewis said McCrory’s “greatest and most exquisite act of bravery and generosity has been to ‘normalise’ her death,” adding, “She’s shown no fear, no bitterness, no self-pity, only armed us with the courage to go on and insisted that no one be sad, because she is happy. I’m staggered by her. She’s been a meteor in our life.”