Diana Rigg's 12 Most Memorable Roles, From 'The Avengers' to 'Game of Thrones'

Actress shared the stage and screen with everyone from James Bond to Miss Piggy

Dame Diana Rigg died Thursday in her native England at age 82 after a six-month battle with cancer. She left behind a career spanning over six decades. Whether on the stage or the screen, she always commanded the audience’s attention. Here are some of her memorable roles.   

“The Avengers” (1965-68)  Rigg played Emma Peel, a spy who excelled in espionage, martial arts and chemistry. She joined the series in Season 4, replacing Honor Blackman’s character (Blackman left to shoot a James Bond film, which Rigg would also do).Rigg’s character often found herself saving her male counterpart John Steed (Patrick Macnee), and Peel became both a feminist and fashion icon.

“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969)  Rigg went from playing a spy to the wife of the spy when she starred in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” She played Tracy Bond/Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, the only woman that 007 marries. Sadly, she is killed on their wedding day.

“The Assassination Bureau” (1969)  One of Rigg’s earliest films was the starring role in “The Assassination Bureau,” where she played a journalist who uncovered a company of contract killers. She places a hit on the Bureau’s own chairman, played by Oliver Reed (seen above).

“The Hospital” (1971)  Rigg played the loved interest of lead George C. Scott in this satirical movie. Yes, murder is involved.

“Julius Ceasar” (1970)  Continuing in films about murder and assassinations, Rigg starred as Portia in the big-screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. Jason Robards (seen above) played Brutus, while John Gielgud played Ceasar.The film also starred acting greats Charlton Heston and Christopher Lee.

“Macbeth” (1972)  Rigg tackled Shakespeare (and murder) once again playing Lady Macbeth opposite Anthony Hopkins on stage at the Old Vic.

“The Serpent Son” (1978)  Rigg played Clytemnestra in the BBC’s three-part television adaptation of Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy of Greek tragedies. Here she is opposite Cassandra, played by a young Helen Mirren.

“The Great Muppet Caper” (1981)  In a departure from her heavy dramatic roles, Rigg starred opposite Ms. Piggy, Kermit the Frog and the Muppets in “The Great Muppet Caper.” In the family-friendly film, Rigg played Lady Holiday, the victim of a jewel heist.

“A Good Man in Africa” (1994)  Showing she could do comedy as well, Rigg starred opposite John Lithgow in this mid-’90s movie.

“Rebecca” (1997) Rigg won an Emmy Award playing the ominous Mrs. Danvers in the ITV/”Masterpiece Theatre” miniseries adaptation of the Daphne Du Maurier novel — a role that Judith Anderson made famous in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film.

“Honour” (2006)  Throughout her career, Rigg regularly appeared on stage. She starred in productions including “Follies,” “Medea” (for which she won a Tony Award), “Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” and “Honour” (seen above).

“Game of Thrones” (2013-17)  Rigg earned a whole new generation of fans playing the regal schemer Olenna Tyrell on HBO’s mega-hit “Game of Thrones.” Olenna was known for her sharp tongue (which she used to cut down the likes of Cersei Lannister and the High Sparrow) and her political machinations (she orchestrated the death of Joffrey Baratheon).Rigg earned four Emmy nominations for the guest role.
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