Legendary British actress Dame Diana Rigg has passed away at the age of 82. At this stage, her cause of death is unknown, but the news was confirmed this morning and our thoughts are with her loved ones at this sad time.
Rigg received her breakout role in 1965 when she landed the part of Emma Peel in hit spy TV series The Avengers. The role of the smart, capable action heroine made her a feminist icon and Peel’s popularity helped cement the show as a success overseas. She received two Emmys during her time on the series before she left in 1968.
In 1969, Rigg starred opposite George Lazenby in James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. She played Teresa “Tracey” di Vincenzo, who has the honor of being the only woman Bond has married in the entire franchise. The film received a mixed reception at the time, but has gone on to be regarded as one of the best in 007 history.
Rigg – who was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1990 – has continued to be a familiar face on the big and small screens over the decades. Most recognizably to modern viewers, she played Lady Olenna, matriarch of the House of Tyrell, in 18 episodes of Game of Thrones, from season 3 to season 7. She also starred as a villain in an episode of Doctor Who in 2013.
The actress kept on working right up to her death and has two projects on the way that will now be released posthumously in 2021. She’ll appear in BBC/FX co-production Black Narcissus, a glossy TV miniseries also featuring Gemma Arterton, and is on the cast list for Edgar Wright’s much-anticipated psychological horror film Last Night in Soho, featuring her former Who co-star Matt Smith and Anya Taylor-Joy. That’s due to hit cinemas in April.
Diana Rigg is survived by her daughter, actress Rachael Stirling. Rest in peace.