Legendary Actress Diana Rigg Dies at 82

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Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee in The Avengers

Diana Rigg, the acclaimed English actress who first rose to stardom portraying Emma Peel in the 1960s TV series, The Avengers, died today (September 10). No cause of death was revealed. Rigg, 82, “died peacefully early this morning,” her agent announced in a statement. “She was at home with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time.”

Rigg was awarded Great Britain’s highest honor in 1994, when she was made a Dame for services to drama (the U.K.’s female equivalent to conferring the title “Sir,” to a male).

In a career that began in the 1950s, Rigg’s other well known roles include her role as “Tracy” in the 1969 James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, opposite George Lazenby. Her role remains the only time that a character in the long running series was Mrs. James Bond.

In recent years, Rigg portrayed Olenna Tyrell in the acclaimed HBO series, Game of Thrones.

Rigg was born July 20, 1938, in Doncaster, U.K. After training as an actress at the acclaimed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, she earned roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She made her Broadway debut in 1971 and won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play in 1994 for Medea.

But it was her role as the fictional spy Emma Peel, from 1965-1968, opposite Patrick Macnee in TV’s The Avengers, for which she is best known, that launched a countless number of schoolboy crushes. Macnee portrayed John Steed, an employee of British Intelligence, always impeccably dressed, usually in a three-piece suit, with a bowler hat and umbrella, the epitome of British class, charm and wit.

Related: When TV’s Emma Peel “met” The Kinks

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  1. RecordSteve
    #1 RecordSteve 10 September, 2020, 19:44

    Dame Diana “Emma Peel” Rigg will sorely be missed! Thank God we have her talents pre-
    served on film/DVD & our memries. Ms. Bond has served Her Majesty’s Service very well. RI
    Peace Diana….

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