Diana Rigg 1938-2020
A publicity still for the James Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969). Diana Rigg played "Bond Girl" Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, the only woman ever to marry the secret agent (though it didn't end well).
Dame Diana - who gained fame in the 1960s spy series "The Avengers," and won a Tony Award for playing Greek tragedy - found a new generation of fans with her Emmy-nominated performance as the conniving Queen of Thorns in "Game of Thrones."
Rigg died on Thursday, September 10, 2020. She was 82.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
Diana Rigg became an international sensation as Mrs. Emma Peel in the 1960s British spy series, "The Avengers."
In 2018 CBS News' Anthony Mason asked Rigg, "Why do you think Mrs. Peel was embraced the way she was?"
"Because she was ahead of her time," Rigg replied. "Because she was highly intelligent, capable, witty, sexy, independent."
"Did you enjoy it?"
"I loved it," she replied.
Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1938, and acting was the only career she ever really wanted.
She would earn admission to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and later joined the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Diana Rigg, photographed at her parents' home in Roundhay, Leeds, April 19, 1965. That year Rigg shocked her Shakespearean colleagues by leaving the stage – for a TV show. She said she was "despised" for doing so.
CBS News' Anthony Mason asked her, "So why did you do it?"
"I knew I had to broaden myself. I was young."
That "TV show" was "The Avengers," the British spy series starring Patrick Macnee as secret agent John Steed. Joining him was new cast member Diana Rigg as the "talented amateur" Mrs. Emma Peel.
Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel in "The Avengers."
Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) goes undercover at the Hellfire Club in the "Avengers" episode, "A Touch of Brimstone."
For the fifth season of "The Avengers," in 1967, the production switched to color.
Rigg said that she was not all that comfortable with being a sex symbol. "Because how is a sex symbol supposed to behave? I haven't got a clue!" she laughed.
Diana Rigg starred as Mrs. Emma Peel for two seasons in "The Avengers," and earned two Emmy Award nominations.
Acress Diana Rigg.
"On Her Majesty's Secret Service"
After two seasons, Rigg left "The Avengers," and took on the role of "Bond Girl" Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."
"Abelard and Heloise"
Diana Rigg in costume for the play "Abelard and Heloise" (1971).
When asked of her job on stage (which in the case of this play about 12th century lovers involved some on-stage nudity), Rigg said, "Your job then is to be truthful [to the audience]. Don't betray them. Don't cheat them. Don't be cheap."
Diana Rigg appeared in the 1982 musical production "Colette" (by "Fantasticks" creators Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones), about the life of French author of "Gigi," which closed before coming to Broadway.
"Evil Under the Sun"
Diana Rigg in the Agatha Christie murder mystery "Evil Under the Sun" (1982). It was one of her few major movie roles.
Rigg told Mason she wishes her film career had been "a little better, a little fuller."
"Did you not get offered the parts you wanted?" he asked.
"I didn't get offered. There is a curious snobbery about television and moving into film."
Diana Rigg won the Best Actress Tony Award for her performance in the 1994 production of the Greek tragedy "Medea."
Diana Rigg served as host of the PBS anthology series "Masterpiece: Mystery!"
She also won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of the sinister Mrs. Danvers in the "Masterpiece Theatre" adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier mystery, "Rebecca" (1997).
"Game of Thrones"
Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in the HBO series "Game of Thrones."
"Game of Thrones"
Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell in the HBO series "Game of Thrones." She earned four Emmy nominations during her run with the series.
"My Fair Lady"
In the 2018 Lincoln Center revival of the Lerner & Loewe musical "My Fair Lady," Rigg played Mrs. Higgins, mother of Professor Henry Higgins.
Works of Art
Diana Rigg with correspondent Anthony Mason at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Rigg received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the 2018 revival of "My Fair Lady." Mason asked her, "Do awards mean anything to you?"
"Of course they do, and anybody who says they don't is talking rubbish!"
Actress Diana Rigg.
For more info:
"The Avengers: Season 4" and "Season 5" available on Blu-Ray/DVD
"The Avengers" Forever (Fan site)
"The Avengers" International Fan Forum