Diana Rigg 1938 - 2020Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 10 September 2020 - Reported by Marcus
Diana Rigg

The actress Dame Diana Rigg has died at the age of 82

During her long career, Diana Rigg had starring roles in The Avengers and Game of Thrones as well as appearing in the James Bond franchise. 

She played Mrs Gillyflower in the 2013 story The Crimson Horror alongside Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith.and her daughter Rachael Stirling. The episode had been specially written for her by Mark Gatiss who paid tribute to the actress.  

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

Diana Rigg was born in Doncaster, then in the West Riding of Yorkshire. She grew up in India where her father worked on the Railways before returning to England for her education. She studied at the Royal Acadamy of Dramatic Art alongside the likes of  Glenda Jackson and Siân Phillips.

Her first roles were on stage and for eight years she was a member of the  Royal Shakespeare Company.

After small roles on Television, her big break came when she joined the 1960's adventure series The Avengers playing Emma Peel. She was not the first choice for the role replacing Elizabeth Shepherd after two episodes, but she made the role her own and stayed for 51 episodes. A dispute with the producers over pay equality with Patrick Macnee, the male star of the show, meant she left the series after two years. 

Big Screen stardom came in 1969 playing Mrs James Bond opposite George Lazenby in the On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Many memorable TV appearances followed including playing Regan in a Granada Television production of King Lear opposite Laurence Olivier and playing Lady Dedlock in the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House

In 1989 she played Helena Vesey in Mother Love for the BBC as role which gained her the 1990 BAFTA award for Best Television Actress.

In 2013 she joined Game of Thrones portraying Lady Olenna Tyrell, a witty and sarcastic political mastermind popularly known as the Queen of Thorns. Her performance earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. 

She appeares in the new series of All Creatures Great and Small, currently being shown on Channel Five. Last year she  appeared on Broadway in the Musical My Fair Lady, earning her fourth Tony nomination. 

Diana Rigg Rigg died earler today at her home in London after a short illness.