Dame Diana Rigg, the veteran actress famous for playing Olenna Tyrell in the HBO series Game of Thrones among dozens of other movie and television roles, has sadly passed away. A specific cause of death hasn’t been revealed, though a statement from Rigg’s agent reveals the actress passed on Thursday morning while surrounded by family. “She died peacefully early this morning. She was at home with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time,” the statement reads. She was 82 years old.
A Doncaster native, Diana Rigg was born Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg on the 20th of July in 1938. As a teenager, she attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art to train for her career in acting. She debuted on stage in 1957 with a RADA production of The Caucasion Chalk Circle, later portraying roles in other shows for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Though she’d move into working in movies and television, Rigg would continue to perform on stage for the rest of her career, including a return to Broadway in 2018 for the part of Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady.
In 1961, Rigg began starring opposite Patrick Macnee on the British television series The Avengers, playing the role of secret agent Emma Peel. Although the role brought her great fame, Rigg would later state in a 2019 interview with The Guardian that she didn’t like the lack of privacy that came with “becoming a sex symbol overnight.” She would ultimately leave the show after two years in part due to the gender pay gap between herself and Macnee.
In 1969, Rigg would also become a Bond girl by starring in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the only movie to star George Lazenby as James Bond. Rigg’s role was very notable in that she played Bond’s wife, Tracy Bond. This would lead to many other big screen roles for Rigg, including parts in Julius Caesar, Theatre of Blood, A Little Night Music, The Great Muppet Caper, and Evil Under the Sun. Rigg will also appear posthumously in Last Night in Soho in her final movie role. Directed by Edgar Wright, the movie also stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie.
On the small screen, Rigg is also known for hosting Mystery! between 1989 and 2003, taking over for Theatre of Blood co-star Vincent Price. She has also appeared in episodes of popular shows like Doctor Who and Victoria, and has starred in a variety of TV movies. She will soon be back on the small screen once again when she is featured posthumously in Black Narcissus, a drama series based on the 1939 novel of the same name.
In recent years, Rigg was reintroduced to mainstream audiences with her notable role on Game of Thrones as Olenna Tyrell, the grandmother of Natalie Dormer’s Margaery Tyrell. She has also been credited with delivering one of the most memorable lines of the entire series when she told Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s Jaime Lannister, “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.” The role earned Rigg tremendous acclaim, earning her an Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Emmy nomination twice.
At this time, we offer our condolences to Rigg’s family, friends, and everyone else mourning her passing. As a legend on the stage as well as both the big and small screens, Dame Diana Rigg will always be remembered and appreciated. May she rest in peace. This news comes to us from BBC News.