Remembering Diana Rigg

We’ve lost a legend.

Diana Rigg, who rocketed to fame in the 1960s as the leather-clad warrior Emma Peel in the British cult hit “The Avengers” and played everything from Shakespeare to James Bond’s bride to the Queen of Thorns in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” has died.

Diagnosed with cancer in March, she died peacefully surrounded by her loving family. She was 82.

In her more than 50-year career, Rigg played major parts in every genre of film, TV and stage.

Her role as Emma Peel made her both a sex symbol and a feminist icon. She played the only woman to get James Bond to the altar in “Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969), although her character was killed shortly after.

She was Vincent Price’s murderous daughter in “Theatre of Blood” (1973). She sparred with Miss Piggy in “The Great Muppet Caper” (1981). She was the picture of insanity in the psychological thriller “Mother Love” (1989). She won an Emmy for her role as Mrs. Danvers in the adaptation of “Rebecca” (1997).

On Twitter, actress Dana Delany wrote, “For a girl in the 1960s, Diana Rigg was the embodiment of power and allure. To see her on stage in ‘Medea’ 30 years later was sheer terror. And the icing was ‘Game of Thrones.’ She outplayed them all. A great, grand actor.”

Rigg won legions of new fans around the world most recently with her portrayal of the tart Olenna Tyrell on “Game of Thrones.”

Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell on "Game of Thrones" (Photo: HBO)
Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell on “Game of Thrones” (Photo: HBO)

On a show filled with memorable characters and brimming with scathing dialogue, Rigg stole every scene she was in.

Even in Olenna’s death scene, Rigg made her character triumphant.

Revealing how she had poisoned the mad King Joffrey, she said, “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”

Her costar in that scene, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, posted on Instagram, “She always raised the bar with her talent, intelligence, and wit. An absolute joy and honor to work with.”

Director Samuel West, on Twitter, noted, “Doesn’t really make any sense to think of her havin died. She generally played the hell out of everyone.”

Watch her final scene on “Game of Thrones” and cherish the gifts Diana Rigg gave us.

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