Avengers & Game of Thrones legend Diana Rigg dies at age 82
It is with great sadness that ComingSoon.net brings word (via Deadline) that legendary British actress Dame Diana Rigg has passed away at age 82, reportedly from cancer diagnosed in March. The BAFTA, Emmy and Tony Award-winner was best known for the 60’s spy series The Avengers, her role as a Bond Girl in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and her recent work as Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones.
“She died peacefully early this morning. She was at home with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time,” her agent said.
An alum of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Rigg first gained international fame from 1965 to 1968 as secret agent Emma Peel on Seasons 4 and 5 of the stylish ITV spy series The Avengers opposite Patrick Macnee’s John Steed. Succeeding Julie Stevens and Honor Blackman as Steed’s sidekick, Emma Peel became an instant sex symbol in the 60’s. She followed Blackman into the 007 arena as Tracy, the doomed wife of James Bond, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) opposite George Lazenby.
After this initial success Rigg had a variety of roles throughout the 70’s, including as a fashion designer in her own American NBC sitcom titled Diana, which lasted one season (1973-1974). She played Portia opposite Charlton Heston in 1970’s Julius Caesar, co-starred with George C. Scott in Arthur Hiller’s satire The Hospital (1971), with Vincent Price in 1973’s horror comedy Theatre of Blood, and sang in the Stephen Sondheim musical adaptation A Little Night Music (1977) with Elizabeth Taylor.
In the 80’s she co-starred with Charles Grodin and Miss Piggy in Jim Henson’s The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and among the ensemble of Peter Ustinov’s Poirot movie Evil Under the Sun (1982). In the 90’s she co-starred with Sean Connery in Bruce Beresford’s A Good Man in Africa (1994), and her role as Mrs. Danvers in ITV’s Rebecca (1997) won her an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. In 2006 she appeared opposite Edward Norton and Naomi Watts in The Painted Veil, and in Andy Serkis’ 2017 directorial debut Breathe starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy. She also appeared in the 2013 episode of Doctor Who titled “The Crimson Horror”.
In 2013 she took on what might be her most popular role as the feisty and ruthless Olenna Tyrell -the powerful matriarch of House Tyrell- in HBO’s cultural juggernaut Game of Thrones. Her role in the series lasted until 2017, and Rigg was Emmy nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series four times.
Rigg will make her final posthumous film appearance as “Miss Collins” in Edgar Wright’s upcoming horror film Last Night in Soho, which is scheduled for release on April 23, 2021.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)