Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis & Helen McCrory at the White House


Being a famous star comes with incredible perks from eating at the most exquisite restaurants to vacationing at most exotic places to getting  invited to most exclusive parties. But how many stars can say the President of the United States is a fan of their work and had them over at the White House for a state dinner? Well, our favorite actor and his better-half certainly can! I am pretty sure most of you read bits and pieces of “Damian Lewis & Helen McCrory at the White House” story four years ago, but why not bring all bits and pieces together today and make our own Fan Fun version of that wonderful evening?

Hey, let’s make this feel REAL.

The event:


You can see the entire White House UK State Dinner 2012 Booklet here and the complete list of guests here.

The decor: According to Washington Post,  it follows an “America’s backyard” theme: “Planters and centerpieces used at the dinner are intended to emulate nature and the flowing ‘landscape gardens’ that are common in England.”.


The menu: It “takes its inspiration from the White House garden’s late winter harvest and early spring greens” plucked only a day before the state dinner.


The White House kindly shares the recipe of the dessert on their website in case you are interested in making it for your own dinner party!

So… Given that they are invited to the White House for a state dinner, where do Damian and Helen spend the day? At the hairdresser? At the make-up?

Oh, no, our favorite couple is a bit too “normal” to do that and this is one of the reasons we just LOVE them!

They simply take DC museums over hours of preparing for the state dinner.

MSN News reports Helen said they were told by officials make-up and hair could be arranged for them a few hours before, but she wanted to spend time seeing the sights of Washington DC instead.

“We turned that down… I’d never been to Washington before and wanted to hit the sights and see a couple of museums… So we rushed back to the hotel five minutes before, jumped in the shower, got changed and ran down to the White House.”

These people have their priorities set and I applaud them for it!

Damian and Helen arrive at the White House at 7pm through the Booksellers entrance on the East Wing. And, hey, they look FAB or what? I’m sorry but can this really happen in five minutes? Helen looks stunning in Jacques Azagury!

source: Huffington Post
source: Huffington Post

They talk to reporters. Damian, who is delighted that Homeland was Obama’s favorite show, says he plans to ask Obama when he has time to watch TV!

Lauren Collins, in her wonderful conversation with Damian Lewis at the New Yorker Festival, asks how it was like to visit the White House and meet the President. And we are lucky that the little clip the festival shares later online is, in fact, the the answer to this question. ENJOY!

It turns out, after the introductions, Damian and Helen first take a tour of the White House before sitting down for dinner. And what Helen tells Radio Times is priceless: “We took snaps of each other in every room, including the loo. Thrilling!”

These two!


Then they walk into a fantastic marquee setup in the South Lawn of the White House through the Japanese Cherry Blossoms to the tent where the state dinner is held. They assume their seats, Damian tells at the New Yorker Festival, “to be next to the revolving doors going to into the toilet… or to kitchen or something… and look, we walk the room to arrive at the top table, Table 1, to find our places with me realizing that I was sitting closer than I am to this lady here (Damian now pointing to JaniaJania!) across from the President” and then he points at me as “Samantha Cameron” and goes on to my husband as the “Vice Chief of the Armed Forces, and to Carol “Helen, my wife is next to him” and the other side is “David Cameron, Michelle, and someone called George… Clooney.” 🙂

And, yes, my dear partner, from now on, you can definitely brag about how close you sat across from Damian Lewis as “just a bit farther than he sat across from the POTUS.”

It really seems like an unforgettable night for Damian that he even remembers the seating right! Here’s the proof from Washington Post.

source: Washington Post
source: Washington Post

And we have a lovely photo from the dinner as well! Damian has someone on his left, whom he says, as a hedge-fund billionaire, has been expecting to meet for the longest time: Warren Buffet! If you have not already, pay attention to the photos in Axe’s office — there is one with Axe and Buffet there! And there is, of course, one with Obama, too!


It turns out the president engages Damian and Warren Buffet in a three-way conversation on fracking!

“I had a LOT to say… and they listened intently. Some of that policy is now being… ”

Gotta LOVE this guy!

And the little story Damian tells about the president teasing Warren Buffet about wearing an old tie — apparently his favorite —  on his first visit to Obama in the White House… I really really REALLY wish you could hear Damian’s imitation of President Obama and Warren Buffet talking which makes the entire story even funnier than it already is!

Obama tells:  “And I said, Warren, when you come to see the POTUS, you need to wear a good tie.” He goes and and gets Buffet one of his ties: “Put that tie on, Warren! It’s yours.”

Buffett: “He did! He did! And I’ve still got it.”

Damian also finds the opportunity to ask Obama the question he wants to ask: “When does he find the time to watch Homeland?” We find out the answer as Damian tell Jonathan Ross with a super fun Obama impersonation:

And what’s Damian’s impression of the president? He tells Hollywood Reporter at the Premiere of Homeland Season 2:

“He’s a charming, impressive, powerful — obviously — man. But he’s much more alpha male in the room than you think he’s going to be. When he first came into power,” he explained, “all the dissenters were keen to point out that he looked good in a suit and he was a lawyer and he drank cappuccino, and where was the American guy? He’s really every bit the American guy, when you’re with him.” I just wonder if Damian has chosen to go British or American with the president! did the president ask for spoilers? Damian tells Hollywood Reporter: “No, he didn’t ask about plot, because he didn’t want to spoil it. He wants to watch it.”

Well… It turns out President Obama is not the only US president that is a fan! Damian tells on PopCorn with Peter Travers:

And here is the most hilarious part of the visit: Many thanks go to Ann, a great fan, for mentioning this and I was lucky to find the information online. Damian tells the Evening Standard: “I actually did nick a set of napkins — I’ve got White House napkins now at my place in Tufnell Park.”

Chances are, with another timely and wonderful show, Billions that is, there could be another opportunity for a visit to the White House in the next couple of years and I hope these two complete their WH napkin set 😀


Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

11 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis & Helen McCrory at the White House”

    1. Classic indeed. I understand Obama kindly asked if they could sign a DVD and he and Claire Danes did it the following week. Damian’s sense of humor is simply priceless.

    1. Thank you! I think this couple makes the article delightful!
      I thought they were reacting in the same way I would. So excited! Taking photos in the restroom? Priceless!
      And taking DC museums over hair/makeup for hours… that’s one of the things I LOVE about these people. They are not plastic as, unfortunately, a big chunk of show business, is.

  1. I think Damian joked that he “nicked” monogrammed cloth WH napkins. I thought it may have been a gift. Can you investigate if there is any truth to this?

    1. With pleasure. I read a lot but did not see anything regarding WH napkins 🙂 Can you imagine a better souvenir? Haha.

    2. I found the information and added it to the post (from an interview with the Evening Standard) with a proper thanks to you, Ann, for the heads up! It may be a gift. But I would say they are letting the guests get them as souvenir any way to remember the night by. Lovely. Hope they have an opportunity to complete the set in a few years 😀

      1. I found a Washington Post article that said guests purloining things from the White House has gone on from the very beginning. It’s kind of a tradition. But if anyone deserved a souvenir I think the guests at the President’s table do.

        1. Absolutely — especially if THAT guest is sitting across from the president! I am sure guests are told what is fair game to nick! 😀

  2. Damian deserves so honored to have been invited by President Obama,! The president must admire enormously, actor, and man, and this seems normal!
    Obama even understood the humor of Damian, the fact that the dedication of Damian, not shocked,him! Girls, I love Damian!!

    1. Obama said Homeland was his most favorite show, multiple times, especially during Season 1 and 2. What can I say? We have a president with a good taste in TV! He should be a BIG FAN of Damian that he made him sit just across from himself so that he could have time to chat with him. Oh they are both very smart that I am sure they had more than a few laughs! Yes, we just LOVE Damian! <3

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