Dame Diana Rigg has died at the age of 82.
The British actress made her name in the original 1961 TV series The Avengers, before going on to star in the 1979 hit show All Creatures Great and Small and more recently, starring as the cutthroat matriarch Lady Olenna Tyrell in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
She also earned worldwide acclaim for her turn as a Bond girl in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969, which sees her character marry the British spy.
Last year, Dame Diana revealed that she ‘suffered a Me Too moment’ early in her career at the hands of a ‘powerful’ film director.
Speaking on Newsnight, the actress said that she welcomed the rise of the #MeToo movement in recent years, following her own experience as a young actress.
Dame Diana – who also starred in the original 1961 TV series The Avengers – also spoke about how she felt like a ‘lone voice’ after she discovered she was being paid less than her male co-stars.
Rigg, who had a long career both in film and on stage, died peacefully at home with her family, her agent confirmed.
Dianna Rigg as Oleanna Tyrell in HBO’s worldwide hit series, Game of Thrones
Rigg starring alongside co-star Patrick Mcnee in The Avengers in 1966
Rigg at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards in New York in June 2018
Rigg became the second Bond girl to marry 007 when she starred in James Bond ‘s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969
The British actress made her name in hit TV shows including The Avengers
A statement from Simon Beresford said: ‘It is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Dame Diana Rigg died peacefully early this morning.
‘She was at home with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time. Dame Diana was an icon of theatre, film, and television.
‘She was the recipient of Bafta, Emmy, Tony and Evening Standard Awards for her work on stage and screen.
‘Dame Diana was a much loved and admired member of her profession, a force of nature who loved her work and her fellow actors. She will be greatly missed.’
Sir David Hare and Sir Tom Stoppard paid tribute to Dame Diana.
Sir David said: ‘Diana Rigg had a dazzling change of direction in middle age as a great classical actor. When Emma Peel played Euripides’ Medea, Albee’s Martha and Brecht’s Mother Courage she swept all before her’.
Sir Tom said: ‘For half her life Diana was the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what used to be called a trooper. She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone. Her talent was luminous’.
Speaking to the BBC in 2019, Dame Diana – who played the Tyrell matriarch Olenna in Game Of Thrones – said: ‘I had one experience, which I’m not about to talk about but when I was very young, with a director who was very powerful.
‘I simply, hardly acknowledged it was happening. I think scorn is quite a powerful tool. I would urge women to use scorn whenever possible, because it sort of scorches the gentleman.’
‘I’m all for the women who speak out, and I’m very glad that they now have a platform to speak out.’
Speaking on Newsnight in 2019, Diana Rigg revealed that she ‘suffered a Me Too moment’ early in her career at the hands of a ‘powerful’ film director
During her time on the Avengers – when she played Emma Peel from 1965 to 1968 – the star was stunned to discover that she was being paid significantly less than her male co-stars, and threatened to quit unless producers gave her a pay rise.
Bosses on the show obliged, thanks to the show’s incredible following in America.
She added: ‘I was a lone voice in the wilderness, nobody backed me up. Pat Macnee kept his head well below the parapet when I stepped forward and said ”I think it’s quite wrong that I’m being paid less than the cameraman.”
‘Of course then I was painted as this sort of mercenary woman, and hard headed and money grabbing and all the rest of it. But it struck me as being unfair so I spoke out.
‘I’ve always thought that equal pay gets you a long way to being treated equally by a man.’