Diana Rigg, a British actor whose career spanned 6 decades, died on Thursday at the age of 82. Rigg was most recently remembered as the sharp-tongued & sharp-witted Olenna Tyrell on the HBO smash hit series ‘Game of Thrones’.
In addition to her role on ‘GoT’, Rigg starred in the original ‘Avengers’ TV series from 1965-68 and played Tracy, the only woman who became Mrs James Bond in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, the 6th film in 007 franchise. On the stage, she performed in numerous classics like ‘Macbeth’, ‘King Lear’ and ‘My Fair Lady’.
Dame Diana’s other recent roles included the Duchess of Buccleuch ITV’s Victoria and Mrs Pumphrey in Channel’s 5 new adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small. Samuel West, who plays Siegfried in the show, said: ‘Doesn’t really make sense to think of her having died. She generally lived the hell out of everyone.’
The fight with Cancer
Her daughter, actor Rachael Stirling, said Rigg had been diagnosed with cancer in March, and had ‘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.’
Confirming her death, her agent said that Rigg had died ‘peacefully’ on Thursday morning. She died ‘at home with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time’. He added: ‘Dame Diana is force of nature who loves her work and her fellow actors.’
Tributes paid to her
Leading the tributes, Tom Stoppard said: ‘For half her life, Diana was the most beautiful woman in the room. But she is what we use to call a trouper. She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone. Her talent was luminous.’
Also, Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli paid tribute to her: ‘We are very sad to hear of the passing of Dame Diana Rigg. She is a legendary stage and screen actress very loved by Bond fans for her memorable performance as Tracy di Vicenzo, the only woman to have married James Bond.’
The Game of Thrones official account also honoured her.
Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster Waldau says the actress ‘always raises the bar with her incredible talent, intelligence and wit.’ It is ‘an absolute joy and honour to work with.’ Natalie Dormer, who plays her granddaughter Margaery Tyrell says: ‘It is a great privilege to work with an actor of such talent, range and experience. Diana is an inspiring force with a wicked sense of humour and sharp intellect. I am grateful for the times I shared either a screen or a bottle of champagne with her.’
Last year, Dame Diana spoke of her delight at her role in Game of Thrones, telling the BBC: ‘I love playing bad [characters]. They are so much more interesting than good. There are some actors who don’t like to play bad; they like for the others to like them. I love when people don’t like me. As a matter of fact, Olenna has the best lines. She is named a Dame of the British Empire since 1994.
Here are her most memorable roles- from The Avengers to Game of Thrones: