Sad news came from London earlier today when we learned that Dame Diana Rigg has died at the age of 82. She’s been in the midst of a relatively short battle with cancer, which she was diagnosed with in March.
Diana Rigg’s career was a lengthy and illustrious one. In the over 8 decades (yes, eight!) Rigg has graced the big and small screens, she is known for many memorable roles. One of her earliest and perhaps best-known role came in the TV series The Avengers, where she played the famous Emma Peel opposite Patrick Macnee’s John Steed. The series began in 1961 though Rigg didn’t join the cast until 1965. She played Peel for three seasons then returned in 1968 for one final episode.
Diana Rigg’s career was also noted for another big event, her marriage to James Bond. Yes, the actress can lay claim to being the only woman to ever have tied down 007. The movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was the sixth film in the James Bond franchise and the first produced after franchise star Sean Connery had decided to retire from the role. George Lazenby was then hired to portray Bond (his first and only time) and Diana Rigg was brought on to play Contessa Teresa “Tracy” di Vicenzo.
Lazenby’s Bond first saves Tracy from suicide by drowning only later to meet up with her in a casino (how Bond-like). The two eventually fall in love and Bond marries her. Unfortunately, at the end of the movie, Bond’s enemy Blofeld, ambushes the Bond’s. During the drive-by shooting, Bond survives but Tracy dies by a headshot.
Diana Rigg has many highlights in her 80 plus years in front of the camera. Besides the previously mentioned films, it is hard to pick which highlight sums her amazing career, there are simply too many to count. Most recently, Dame Rigg had been seen playing Olenna Tyrell on the HBO hit Game of Thrones. It was a recurring role that covered five seasons and 18 episodes. She was also seen recently in the series Detectorists, Victoria, and All Creatures Great and Small. Before her passing, Dame Rigg had two projects yet to air, Last Night in Soho and Black Narcissus.
Obviously, the news of her passing hit hard. Her Bond co-star Lazenby remarked he was “so sad” to hear of her passing. Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson tweeted out a tribute to Dame Rigg. “We are very sad to hear of the passing of Dame Diana Rigg, the legendary stage and screen actress who was much beloved by Bond fans for her memorable performance as Tracy di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the only woman to have married James Bond.”
Game of Thrones also tweeted out a nice honor. “Be a dragon. The realm will always remember Diana Rigg.”
Many others who had the pleasure of working with Diana Rigg expressed their sorrow upon hearing the news of her death.
Diana Rigg’s daughter, actress Rachael Stirling, who announced that her mother had passed from cancer, also had this to say in regards to her mother’s passing, “She spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and a deep pride in her profession.”
It is a big loss for the Hollywood community, family and friends. RIP Dame Diana Rigg.