Game of Thrones Star Diana Rigg, aka Lady Olenna Tyrell, Dies at 82

Diana Rigg, whose career spanned six decades, first gained acclaim for her portrayal of spy Emma Peel on The Avengers in the 1960s. More recently, she was known for playing the shrewd Lady Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones. The Emmy- and Tony-winning British actress, who was diagnosed with cancer in March, passed away today at the age of 82.

According to her daughter Rachael Stirling, 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.”

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Following her success on The Avengers, Rigg starred as Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, wife of James Bond, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969. The Avengers, which made her an international sex symbol, led Rigg to be voted “sexiest-ever TV star” by TV Guide, something the actress never aspired to.

“I have to be honest, it discomfited me because I never saw myself as sexy,” she told the BBC in 2011. “I didn’t see it as a feminist issue, I saw it as, if you like, perhaps I fell short in that aspect because I couldn’t deliver. I did the sexy photographs because it was asked of me, but I never did the ‘sexy’ in person.”

4 of my favourite Olenna pictures – Dame Diana – an absolute masterclass in how to take no shit from anyone. You were hilarious on set. So quick witted. You had some really kind words of support – which were so appreciated. Always fun to watch the back and forward between you and Charles Dance, Lena Headey and Jonathan Price. Again – can’t believe we got to work with you for so long. A proper treat. So today we say goodbye to another one of our Thrones family. RIP DDR 🖤 #damedianarigg #dianarigg #gameofthrones

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For her role on The Avengers, Rigg earned two Emmy nominations. In 1997, she won an Emmy for her role as head housekeeper Mrs. Danvers in a PBS adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. After joining Game of Thrones in 2013 as Lady Olenna, the “Queen of Thorns,” she was nominated for four Emmys for her work on the HBO series.

Rigg was also known for her work in the theater. In 1994, she won a Tony for playing the title role in Medea. She was also nominated for her work in Abelard and Heloise in 1971, The Misanthrope in 1975, and My Fair Lady in 2018.

Born Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg on July 20, 1938, in Doncaster, England, the actress spent her childhood in India until she was 8 when she was sent to boarding school in England, an experience that she found difficult. Eventually, she was transferred to another school where she discovered her love of acting. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she made her professional debut in 1957 in New York with a performance in The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

Rigg married Israeli painter Menachem Gueffen in 1973 and later theater producer Archie Stirling in 1982. Although both marriages ended in divorce, she welcomed her daughter Rachael with Stirling in 1977. In 2005, Rigg played her daughter’s mother in an episode of Doctor Who. The two worked together again from 2015-17 on six episodes of Acorn’s Detectorists.

“We just kept laughing,” Rigg said of performing with her daughter. “I do have to say, people get serious about the job. And it is serious, it’s very, very serious because it’s a communion between you, the audience, and us, the actors — but at the same time one of my real needs is to have fun and to laugh and to enjoy it.”

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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