Diana Rigg dies at 82: Starred in Game of Thrones, Avengers and James Bond

From Emma Peel to Medea to Olenna Tyrell, Diana Rigg filled stage and screen with scintillating performances.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films | TV | Movies | Television | Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read

Diana Rigg lit up the screen with Avengers co-star Patrick McNee.

Sunset Boulevard

Diana Rigg, the award-winning star of stage and screen with a lifetime of memorable roles behind her, has died at 82. The grand dame of British television and theater beguiled successive generations of fans in The Avengers, James Bond and Game of Thrones

Fondly remembered as dashing superspy Emma Peel in classic 1960s adventure The Avengers (long before the Marvel movies, obviously), Rigg more recently won multiple Emmy nominations as Queen of Thorns Olenna Tyrell in HBO's fantasy smash Game of Thrones. She died at home on Thursday after being diagnosed with cancer in March.


The late Diana Rigg in Game of Thrones.


In the 1969 Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Rigg played Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, also known as 007's wife, Tracy. Perhaps that says it all: Only Diana Rigg could tame James Bond. She "undoubtedly raised my acting game," Bond co-star George Lazenby said in an Instagram post Thursday.  

Born Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg in Yorkshire, she was partly raised in India before joining London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1955. She was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in the early 1960s, embarking on a lifetime of theater work in the West End and on Broadway, earning her multiple Tony and Olivier nominations. In the 1990s she won a Tony for the title role in the Greek tragedy Medea and an Emmy for a TV adaptation of Rebecca.


In The Avengers, Rigg starred as Emma Peel, a no-nonsense secret agent who embodied a new kind of playful yet tough woman on screen.


On the lighter side of things, Rigg also starred in The Great Muppet Caper and an episode of Doctor Who alongside her daughter, Rachael Stirling. In 1973, Rigg even starred in a short-lived NBC sitcom called Diana.

Rigg's final onscreen appearance will be in psychological horror Last Night in Soho, directed by Edgar Wright. It's set to be released in April.

New Movies Coming in 2023 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

See all photos