Actress Diana Rigg of The Avengers, Game of Thrones dead at 82

Diana Rigg, a British actress who became a 1960s style icon as secret agent Emma Peel in the TV series The Avengers, has died. She was 82.

Rigg was nominated for 9 Emmys, 4 Tonys in illustrious career

British actress Diana Rigg is shown at a 2019 appearance in Cannes, France. Rigg's daughter said she died of cancer that was diagnosed in March. (Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images)

Diana Rigg, a British actress who became a 1960s style icon as secret agent Emma Peel in the TV series The Avengers, has died. She was 82.

Rigg's agent, Simon Beresford, said she died Thursday morning at home with her family.

Her daughter, Rachael Stirling, said she died of cancer that was diagnosed in March.

Rigg "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," Stirling said.

Rigg starred in The Avengers alongside Patrick Macnee, who played bowler-hatted John Steed. They were an impeccably dressed duo who fought villains and traded quips in a show that provided an enduringly influential mix of adventure and humour.

Macnee died in 2015.

Rigg is shown in her iconic role as Emma Peel in the television series The Avengers. (Terry Disney/Express/Getty Images)

Rigg's performance earned her the first two of what would be nine Emmy Award nominations, including a supporting actress win in 1997 for the television miniseries Rebecca.

In later life, she played Olenna Tyrell in 18 appearances on Game of Thrones, the Duchess of Buccleuch in Victoria, and starred alongside her daughter in a 2013 Doctor Who episode as well as the British sitcom Detectorists.

On the big screen, Rigg starred in spy thriller On Her Majesty's Secret Service as the only woman ever to marry James Bond, as well as The Great Muppet Caper, Parting Shots and The Painted Veil.

"Our love and thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time," said Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the Bond franchise.

George Lazenby, who made his only appearance as Bond in the film, said on Instagram that he was "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."

Rigg also earned four Tony Award nominations in an extensive career on stage, the most recent in 2018 for playing Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady. She won for best performance by a leading actress in a 1994 production of Medea.

Rigg spent several years in the 1960s as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, her acclaimed stage career also including Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Tom Stoppard's Jumpers at the National Theatre in London.

Stoppard said Rigg was "the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what used to be called a trouper."

"She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone. Her talent was luminous."

For her contributions on screen and on stage, she was made a dame of the Order of the British Empire in 1994.

Rigg is survived by her daughter, son-in-law Guy Garvey — lead singer of the band Elbow — and a grandson.

With files from CBC News


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