Diana Rigg, Star Of ‘Avengers’ And ‘Game Of Thrones’ Dies At 82 – British actress Diana Rigg, whose decades-long acting career spanned 1960s spy series “The Avengers,” classical theater and “Game of Thrones,” has died on Thursday. She was 82.
Diana Rigg, Star Of ‘Avengers’ And ‘Game Of Thrones’ Dies At 82:
Diana Rigg, the British actress who enthralled London and New York theater audiences with her performances in classic roles for more than a half-century but remained best known as the quintessential new woman of the 1960s — sexy, confident, witty and karate-adept — on the television series “The Avengers,” died on Thursday at her home in London.
Her daughter, Rachael Stirling, said in a statement that the cause was cancer.
“My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family,” Rachael Stirling said in a statement. “She died of cancer diagnosed in March, and spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and a deep pride in her profession. I will miss her beyond words.”
Calling her “an icon of theater, film, and television,” Rigg’s agent Simon Beresford said in a statement that she was “a much loved and admired member of her profession, a force of nature who loved her work and her fellow actors.”
He added that Rigg would be “greatly missed.”
Diana Rigg, who won an Emmy award in 1997 for her performance as Mrs Danvers in “Rebecca” and a Tony award for playing the title character in “Medea,” was also a Bond girl in 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
More recently, Diana Rigg found fame with a new generation of fans as Lady Olenna Tyrell in “Game of Thrones,” but perhaps her most definitive role was secret agent Emma Peel in “The Avengers,” in the classic series that was later adapted into the 1998 movie starring Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman.
Rigg was twice Emmy-nominated for her 1965-68 stint playing the catsuit-wearing, kickass spy opposite Patrick Macnee’s bowler-hatted and besuited agent John Steed.
Diana Rigg won a special BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award in 2000, alongside Honor Blackman, Joanna Lumley and Linda Thorson, who all appeared in the series.
Diana Rigg, Emma Peel Of ‘The Avengers,’ Dead:
Diana Rigg also won a BAFTA in 1990 for her part in TV series “Mother Love.”
Daniel Craig, among others, called Rigg’s Teresa “Tracy” di Vicenzo one of the best Bond girls of all time. The only woman to actually marry Bond, di Vicenzo is killed shortly after they tie the knot in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
Diana Rigg was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1988 and a Dame Commander in 1994. Her marriages — to Menachem Gueffen, an Israeli artist (1973-76), and to Archibald Sterling, a Scottish businessman and theater producer (1982-90) — ended in divorce. Her surviving daughter, Rachael, from her second marriage, is an actress. Diana Rigg is also survived by a grandson.
George Lazenby, who played James Bond in the movie, paid tribute on Instagram to Rigg and the “memorable cinema moment” that came when her character died.
“She undoubtedly raised my acting game when we made On Her Majesty’s Secret Service together in 1968-9,” he wrote. “We had fun together on the set of the movie in Switzerland and Portugal. Her depth of experience really helped me.
“As my new bride, Tracy Bond, I wept for her loss. Now, upon hearing of Dame Diana’s death, I weep again. My deepest condolences for her family.”
Actor and writer Mark Gatiss, who also appeared in “Game of Thrones” and wrote a “Doctor Who” episode for Rigg and her daughter, tweeted: “It was my great joy and privilege to have known Diana Rigg. From three slightly hysterical months at the Old Vic in ‘All About Mother’ to writing The Crimson Horror for Diana and her wonderful daughter Rachael. Flinty, fearless, fabulous. There will never be another. RIP.”
“What to say about Diana Rigg?” tweeted Edgar Wright, who directed Rigg’s final film, the upcoming psychological thriller Last Night in Soho. “I could talk about her incredible career, but for now I’ll just say as a lifelong fan, it was beyond a thrill to work with her on her final film. She exceeded all my highest expectations, so blazingly talented, fiery & funny. Miss you already Dame D.”
“Dame Diana Rigg,” tweeted Thrones co-star Coster-Waldau. “She always raised the bar with her incredible talent, intelligence and wit. An absolute joy and honor to work with. May her soul Rest In Peace.”