Diana Rigg, the star known for her roles in The Avengers, the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Game of Thrones, died of cancer on Thursday. She passed away at the age of 82 while in her London home.
Rigg first reached international fame in her 1965 to 1968 role as Emma Peel in the British television show The Avengers. Known for her martial arts skills and her sex appeal (the character Emma Peel’s name comes from the phrase “man appeal,” shortened to m. appeal), Peel was one of the most famous characters on the show.
“AS TELEVISION’S Mrs. Emma Peel; a tall, lithe, Modigliani of a girl, with the sweet sophistication of Nora Charles and the biceps of Barbarella, Diana Rigg used to be a good reason to stay home on Friday night,” Vincent Canby wrote in a 1969 New York Times review. According to Twitter, the alluring and strong image Canby painted of Rigg as Peel over five decades ago still holds up today.
When Rigg then moved on to star in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as Bond girl Teresa di Vicenzo, she upheld her reputation for being a memorable and powerful leading lady. Di Vicenzo is known for being the only woman Bond has ever married out of love, and his heartbreak over her death at the end of the film was a connected all the subsequent Bond films in the continuous 1962 to 2002 series. Despite being known for his once disdain for Rigg, actor George Lazenby, who played Bond in the 1969 film, remembered her fondly after her recent passing.
In his Instagram post which features Rigg and himself at the time they played Bond and di Vicenzo, Lazenby mourned not only the death of Rigg herself, but her character.
As Olenna Tyrell, Queen of Thorns in the famous series Game of Thrones, Rigg once again received international acclaim. Once again playing the role of the strong and feisty heroine, as Tyrell Rigg was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series four times and the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series twice. Her co-stars remember her fondly – both as Tyrell and the ever-iconic Peel.