Dame Diana Rigg, legendary actress known for her roles in TV series The Avengers and Game of Thrones, has died. She was 82.
The British actress who rose to prominence with her two-time Emmy-nominated role as desirable and fierce leather-clad secret agent Emma Peel in 1961 UK TV series The Avengers– opposite Patrick McNee’s bowler-hatted John Steed- became a worldwide phenomenon as a Bond girl and James Bond’s wife Tracey Bond in 1969 Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Dame Diana, who was born in Doncaster in northern England, moved with her family to India after her father accepted a job there, before returning to attend school in England.
Having studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before making her debut at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959, Rigg was a highly-respected stage actress known for her roles as Cordelia in the touring production of King Lear as well as her Tony-nominated roles in Abelard and Heloise and Celimene in The Misanthrope.
Rigg, who was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her work in drama at the 1994 Birthday Honours, also won a Tony for Best Actress for Medea that same year.
For the younger generation, Rigg is probably best known for her critically-acclaimed portrayal of Lady Olenna Tyrell in HBO hit Game of Thrones, for which she once again earned an Emmy nomination in 2018.
Rigg’s agent told BBC, “She died peacefully early this morning. She was at home with her family, who have asked for privacy at this difficult time.”
Her daughter Rachael Stirling said in a statement:
“My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family. 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.”
Rest in peace, Dame Diana Rigg.