Dame Diana Rigg, the actress known for her work on The Avengers and Game of Thrones, died on Thursday, September 10, 2020. Her daughter, actress Rachael Stirling, announced that she died of cancer. She was 82 years old.
“She spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and a deep pride in her profession,” Stirling stated.
Rigg portrayed Emma Peel on The Avengers for 51 episodes from 1965 to ’68. As part of the James Bond franchise, she played the only woman to marry 007 in the ’69 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In one of her most recent roles, she played the popular poison tongued Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones from 2013 to 2017.
She was born on July 20, 1938 in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England and spent some of her childhood living in Bikaner, India. Rigg trained as an actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in ’55 to ’57. Her stage career began with a RADA production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, followed by performances in the Royal Shakespeare Company. Over the course of her career she was nominated for four Tony Awards, the earliest in ’71 and the latest in 2018. She won the Best Actress award in ’94 for Medea.
Rigg’s film and TV career began in ’59 in the TV movie A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She starred in Julius Caesar as Portia and starred in the show Diana in the mid-‘70s. She played Regan in the King Lear TV movie and starred in the miniseries Masterpiece Theatre: Bleak House.
She was in The Worst Witch, played the Evil Queen in Snow White, and had a recurring role on The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries. In the 2000s, she was in The Last King, Doctor Who, and had recurring roles on Detectorists, Victoria, and her most recent role was in Black Narcissus.