Diana Rigg, a British actress who became a 1960s style icon as secret agent Emma Peel in the TV series The Avengers, has died. She was 82.
Rigg’s agent, Simon Beresford, said she died Thursday morning at home with her family.
Her daughter, Rachael Stirling, said she died of cancer that was diagnosed in March.
Rigg “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,” Stirling said.
Rigg starred in The Avengers alongside Patrick Macnee, who played bowler-hatted John Steed. They were an impeccably dressed duo who fought villains and traded quips in a show that provided an enduringly influential mix of adventure and humour.
Rigg’s performance earned her the first two of what would be nine Emmy Award nominations, including a supporting actress win in 1997 for the television miniseries Rebecca.
In later life, she played Olenna Tyrell in 18 appearances on Game of Thrones, the Duchess of Buccleuch in Victoria, and starred alongside her daughter in a 2013 Doctor Who episode as well as the British sitcom Detectorists.
Dame Diana Rigg . 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 <a href=”https://t.co/BC4annah1H”>https://t.co/BC4annah1H</a>
On the big screen, Rigg starred in spy thriller On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as the only woman ever to marry James Bond, as well as The Great Muppet Caper, Parting Shots and The Painted Veil.
“Our love and thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time,” said Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the Bond franchise.
George Lazenby, who made his only appearance as Bond in the film, said on Instagram that he was “so sad to hear of the death of Diana Rigg. She undoubtedly raised my acting game when we made On Her Majesty’s Secret Service together in 1968-9.”
In fond memory of Dame Diana Rigg, who was a gloriously imperious Mrs. Higgins in our recent production of <a href=”https://twitter.com/MyFairLadyBway?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MyFairLadyBway</a>. 📸: Joan Marcus <a href=”https://t.co/dxDmLEQSBv”>pic.twitter.com/dxDmLEQSBv</a>
Rigg also earned four Tony Award nominations in an extensive career on stage, the most recent in 2018 for playing Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady. She won for best performance by a leading actress in a 1994 production of Medea.
Rigg spent several years in the 1960s as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, her acclaimed stage career also including Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers at the National Theatre in London.
Dame Diana Rigg also appeared three times at our South Bank home: The Guardsman (1977), the title role in Mother Courage and Her Children (1995) and, finally, Humble Boy (2001).<br><br>She will be greatly missed by very many at the NT and in the theatre community. <a href=”https://t.co/r81AniFviu”>pic.twitter.com/r81AniFviu</a>
Stoppard said Rigg was “the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what used to be called a trouper.”
“She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone. Her talent was luminous.”
For a girl in the 1960’s, Diana Rigg was the embodiment of power and allure. To see her on stage in Medea 30 years later was sheer terror. And the icing was Game of Thrones. She outplayed them all. A great grand actor. 🖤 <a href=”https://t.co/9XjCQh1qmi”>pic.twitter.com/9XjCQh1qmi</a>
For her contributions on screen and on stage, she was made a dame of the Order of the British Empire in 1994.
Rigg is survived by her daughter, son-in-law Guy Garvey — lead singer of the band Elbow — and a grandson.