Diana Rigg, Star of ‘Game of Thrones’ and TV’s ‘The Avengers,’ Dies at 82

Emmy winner received four nominations for her part as Lady Olenna Tyrell on HBO fantasy series

Diana Rigg
Photo credit: Getty Images

Diana Rigg, who was best known for her roles as Lady Olenna Tyrell on “Game of Thrones” and Emma Peel in the 1960s TV series “The Avengers,” died Thursday at her home in the U.K. following a battle with cancer. She was 82.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Dame Diana Rigg died peacefully early this morning,” Rigg’s agent Simon Beresford said in a statement to TheWrap Thursday. “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.”

“My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family,” Rigg’s daughter, Rachael Stirling, said in her own statement. “She died of cancer diagnosed 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.”

Along with starring opposite Patrick Macnee as intelligence agent Emma Peel on the classic adventure series “The Avengers” and playing Lady Tyrell, a.k.a. the Queen of Thorns, on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Rigg was best known for taking on the role of Tracy Bond, the wife of George Lazenby’s James Bond, in 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

Rigg was nominated for nine Emmys, with two of those nods being for “The Avengers” and four for “GoT,” and grabbed one win for her part as Mrs Danvers in the 1997 PBS miniseries “Rebecca.”

She was also widely regarded for her stage work, serving as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1959-64 and appearing in four Broadway productions: “Abelard and Heloise” in 1971, “The Misanthrope” in 1975, “Medea” in 1994 and “My Fair Lady” in 2018. Rigg received a Tony nomination for each part and a win for “Medea.”

Among Rigg’s numerous memorable TV credits are her guest spots on BBC/HBO’s “Extras” in 2006 and “Dr. Who” in 2013. More recently, she appeared in the ITV series “Victoria,” BSkyB and NBC’s “You, Me and the Apocalypse,” and Channel 5’s “All Creatures Great and Small.”

Born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, Rigg trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art from 1955-57. She was married twice, first to Menachem Gueffen in 1973, whom she divorced three years later, and then to Archibald Stirling in 1982, whom she had daughter Rachael Stirling with before they divorced in 1990.


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