The actress’ many other credits included On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Bleak House.
Dame Diana Rigg has died at the age of 82. According to her agent, the British actress died peacefully at her home with her family on Thursday morning.
Her daughter, Rachel Stirling, said Rigg was diagnosed with cancer in March and “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.”
“It is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Dame Diana Rigg died peacefully early this morning,” her agent Simon Beresford said in a statement obtained by EW. “She was at home with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time. Dame Diana was an icon of theatre, film, and television. She was the recipient of BAFTA, Emmy, Tony and Evening Standard Awards for her work on stage and screen. Dame Diana was a much loved and admired member of her profession, a force of nature who loved her work and her fellow actors. She will be greatly missed.”
Rigg initially found fame in the U.K. playing Emma Peel opposite Patrick Macnee’s John Steed in the classic adventure show The Avengers. In 1969, she starred with George Lazenby in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. While the film itself would be much-maligned, Rigg’s performance as Tracy Bond has become a favorite among 007 fans. In more recent years, the actress played Olenna Tyrell in HBO’s Game of Thrones. “I loved the complexity of Olenna,” Rigg told EW last year. “She was a political woman, and she played the game brilliantly. Anything and everything executed ruthlessly for the survival of her family, which is historical in a way, like the Borgias and various other famous families.”
Rigg’s many other screen credits included the 1973 horror movie Theatre of Blood and the TV shows Bleak House and Doctor Who. She will also be seen in director Edgar Wright’s film Last Night in Soho, which is set for release next year. In addition to her appearances in film and on TV, Rigg was an acclaimed stage actress who won a Tony in 1994 for playing the title role in Medea.
“I could talk about her incredible career, but for now I’ll just say as a lifelong fan, it was beyond a thrill to work with her on her final film,” Wright said in a tweet on Thursday. “She exceeded all my highest expectations, so blazingly talented, fiery & funny. Miss you already Dame D.”
“Diana Rigg had a dazzling change of direction in middle age as a great classical actor,” said theatre director Sir David Hare. “When Emma Peel played Euripides’ Medea, Albee’s Martha and Brecht’s Mother Courage she swept all before her.”
“For half her life Diana was the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what used to be called a Trouper,” said playwright Sir Tom Stoppard. “She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone. Her talent was luminous.”