Damian Lewis gave a beautiful, poetic tribute to his late wife, Helen McCroy, best known for her roles in Harry Potter and Peaky Blinders, nine months after she died of breast cancer.
On Jan. 25, the Homeland actor paid tribute to McCroy at a National Theatre event which was based on Allie Esiri’s anthology, “A Poet for Everyday of the Year”. It marks the first time Lewis has spoken about his wife since her tragic death in April 2021.
“This evening is dedicated to her and it’s perfect, because Helen loved the National Theatre,” the 50-year-old actor said at the 900-person event. “One person whose thunder would absolutely not be stolen was Helen McCroy.”
Lewis then recited a verse from Irish poet Derek Mahon’s poem, “Everything Is Going To Be All Right.”
“There will be dying, but there is no need to go into that... The run rises in spite of everything...Everything is going to be all right,” he said. A clip of McCroy reading Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” was then played before the audience applauded after the video was played.
Among the hundreds of attendees were the couple’s two children, daughter Manon, 15, and son Gulliver, 14, and McCroy’s colleagues and friends including Simon Russell Beale, Lesley Sharp, Faye Ripley, and Danny Sapani, who also performed poems from Esiri’s anthology.
Poet Allie Esiri also paid tribute to the late actress. “We dedicated the evening to Helen, and Damian said a few words, but we just wanted to get on and do the show,” Esiri told the Daily Mail of the evening. “It's what she would have told us to do – ‘OK, enough already, get on with the show!’ She loved poetry and I think she would have been pleased to be kind of here with us. It felt right.”
Esiri continued: “Damian and Helen really helped to get poetry out to people. When you are stuck at home with Covid but can't quite take on a novel, a lot of people have been turning to poetry. Tonight we chose poems that will hopefully have chimed with people who have been going through a lot over the last two years.
“Learning from adversity is something many people have experienced over the past two years during the pandemic. My mantra during this difficult time has always been to tell myself ‘everything is going to be all right’.”