Acting legend Dame Diana Rigg, who starred in The Avengers, Game of Thrones and Bond, has died of cancer, aged 82.
The actress broke out in 1965, playing Emma Peel on action comedy series The Avengers, and went on to dozens of starring roles in a career spanning decades.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Dame Diana Rigg died peacefully early this morning,” said her agent, Simon Beresford.
“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.”
He added: “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.”
She played numerous characters across film, television and onstage, recently reaching an entirely new generation of fans on HBO’s fantasy epic Game of Thrones.
In the hit series, she played Olenna Tyrell, the matriarch of the powerful House Tyrell, known for her ambition, cunning and sharp wit.
Rigg’s character is perhaps best remembered for her role in taking down the loathed King Joffrey, who had been arranged to be married to her granddaughter.
She appeared in a number of period dramas including an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, the Emmy-nominated Victoria & Albert and The Mrs Bradley Mysteries on BBC One.
However, she was capable of traversing genres, appearing in critically acclaimed sitcom Detectorists and narrating children’s adaptation The Snail and The Whale.
She starred opposite her daughter, Rachael Stirling, in an episode of sci-fi adventure series Doctor Who, titled The Crimson Horror.
Stirling said: “My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family. 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.”
Most recently, Dame Diana Rigg had a starring role on Channel 5’s remake of All Creatures Great and Small, which began airing just last week to a very positive response.
She had also wrapped filming on a new television adaptation of Black Narcissus and a role in Edgar Wright’s next film, Last Night in Solo, which will be released next year.
Tributes have flooded in for the late, great actress, with Mark Gatiss calling her “flinty, fearless, fabulous”.
It was my great joy and privilege to have known Diana Rigg. From three slightly hysterical months at the Old Vic in ‘All About Mother’ to writing The Crimson Horror for Diana and her wonderful daughter Rachael. Flinty, fearless, fabulous. There will never be another. RIP pic.twitter.com/2EGc4MVx0S
— Mark Gatiss (@Markgatiss) September 10, 2020
Edgar Wright and the actress’ former Game of Thrones co-star John Bradley were also among those to pay tribute, with Wright saying: “I could talk about her incredible career, but for now I’ll just say as a lifelong fan, it was beyond a thrill to work with her on her final film.
“She exceeded all my highest expectations, so blazingly talented, fiery & funny. Miss you already Dame D.”
Diana Rigg was just wonderful. But you all knew that already. Everybody did. Very sad news. #dianarigg
— John Bradley (@johnbradleywest) September 10, 2020
The producers of Bond also paid tribute, sharing a statement on the official James Bond Twitter account, remembering her performance as Tracy di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
"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." pic.twitter.com/nqQCSg35oM
— James Bond (@007) September 10, 2020