LONDON – Diana Rigg, a commanding British actress whose career stretched from iconic 1960s spy series “The Avengers” to fantasy juggernaut “Game of Thrones,” has died. She was 82.
Rigg’s agent, Simon Beresford, said she died Thursday morning at home with her family. Daughter Rachael Stirling said she died of cancer that was diagnosed in March.
Rigg “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,” Stirling said.
Rigg starred in “The Avengers” as secret agent Emma Peel alongside Patrick Macnee’s bowler-hatted John Steed. The pair were an impeccably dressed duo who fought villains and traded quips in a show whose mix of adventure and humor was enduringly influential.
Rigg also starred in 1969 James Bond thriller “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” as Tracy di Vicenzo, the only woman ever to marry, albeit briefly, Agent 007. Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said Rigg was “much beloved by Bond fans for her memorable performance.”
George Lazenby, who made his only appearance as Bond in the film, said on Instagram that he was “so sad to hear of the death of Diana Rigg. She undoubtedly raised my acting game when we made On Her Majesty’s Secret Service together in 1968-9.”
In later life, she played Olenna Tyrell — the formidable “Queen of Thorns” — in “Game of Thrones," receiving an Emmy Award nomination for the role.
Other television roles included the Duchess of Buccleuch in period drama “Victoria,” and Rigg starred alongside her daughter in the gentle British sitcom “Detectorists.”