Skip to main content

Dame Diana Rigg, Star of The Avengers and Game of Thrones, Has Passed Away at 82

diana rigg

Dame Diana Rigg, who starred in the iconic British television series The Avengers, has passed away at 82. The legendary British actress had a prolific career in film, television, and theater that spanned over six decades. Rigg was awarded Emmy, BAFTA, and Tony awards, and was appointed Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Recommended Videos

Her daughter, Rachael Stirling (Tipping the Velvet, Doctor Who), said Rigg, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, “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.”

A member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Rigg drew international fame with her portrayal of super-spy Emma Peel in The Avengers from 1965-1968. Emma Peel quickly became an iconic figure in popular culture and in fashion, thanks to her iconic leather catsuit. The Avengers was one of the first “spy-fi” series, which melded fantasy and science fiction with the espionage genre. Peel’s humor and flirty banter set the standard for lady spy characters, which was carried through in the James Bond franchise.

In 1969, Rigg joined the Bond franchise in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, where she played opposite one-time Bond George Lazenby. Rigg’s character, Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, was only the second Bond girl to marry James Bond in the film series. Rigg continued acting on stage and screen in the decades that followed, including a hilarious performance opposite Daniel Radcliffe in the Ricky Gervais series Extras:

Riggs also appeared alongside her daughter in the 237th Doctor Who episode, “The Crimson Horror.” But it was her performance as Lady Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones that endeared her to a new generation of viewers. Rigg’s tart and highly GIF-able performance as the Queen of Thorns earned her 4 Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

Rigg’s final role will be in the upcoming Edgar Wright film Last Night in Soho, which takes place in London in the swinging 60s, an era that Rigg effortlessly embodied. The film is scheduled to be released in 2021. Many friends and fans took to Twitter to remember Dame Rigg:


View this post on Instagram


I’m so sad to hear of the death of Diana Rigg. She undoubtedly raised my acting game when we made On Her Majesty’s Secret Service together in 1968-9. I remember the press conference at the Dorchester in London, knowing she was going to play my wife. We had fun together on the set of the movie in Switzerland and Portugal. Her depth of experience really helped me. We were good friends on set. Much was made of our supposed differences but that was the Press looking for a news story. I was sorry to have lost my wife in the film at the end. The death of Contessa Teresa di Vincenzo Draco created a memorable cinema moment over 50 years ago. As my new bride, Tracy Bond, I wept for her loss. Now, upon hearing of Dame Diana’s death, I weep again. My deepest condolences for her family. Love George xx

A post shared by George Lazenby (@georgelazenbyofficial) on


View this post on Instagram


The true queen of Westeros. #DianaRigg

A post shared by Pedro Pascal he/him (@pascalispunk) on

(via Entertainment Weekly, image: JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]


Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: