Diana Rigg The Iconic Bond Girl

Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg DBE, commonly known as Diana Rigg, was an illustrious British actress who graced both the stage and screen with her remarkable talent. Born on 20 July 1938 in Doncaster, England, and passing away on 10 September 2020, Rigg’s career spanned over six decades, leaving an indelible mark on the world of entertainment.

Early Life and Education

Diana Rigg was born in England but spent her early childhood in Bikaner, India, where her father worked as a railway executive. The family returned to England when she was eight years old. Her passion for acting was ignited during her school years, leading her to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

Theatre Achievements

Diana Rigg’s theatre career was both extensive and impressive, involving roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company between 1959 and 1967. Her professional debut was in the RADA production of “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” at the York Festival in 1957. Rigg’s stage presence was further solidified through her roles in plays like “Abelard and Heloïse,” “The Misanthrope,” and “Medea,” which earned her a Tony Award in 1994. Her performances in “Jumpers” and “Night and Day,” both Tom Stoppard plays, were also noteworthy. Rigg continued to grace the stage in various productions, including “Follies,” “The Cherry Orchard,” and “Pygmalion,” even returning to Broadway in 2018 in “My Fair Lady.”

Television and Film Career


"The Avengers" (1965-1968)
“The Avengers” (1965-1968)

Diana Rigg’s on-screen career was as illustrious as her stage career. Her role as Emma Peel in “The Avengers” from 1965 to 1968 is iconic, and her role as Tracy Bond in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969) is etched in cinematic history. Rigg’s film and television career spanned various genres and roles, including appearances in “The Assassination Bureau,” “Julius Caesar,” “The Hospital,” and “Theatre of Blood.” Her role as Lady Olenna Tyrell in “Game of Thrones” from 2013 to 2017 brought her acclaim from a new generation of fans. Rigg’s final performance was in the British psychological horror film “Last Night in Soho.”

Filmography Highlights

Year Film/Show Role
1969 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Tracy Bond
1987 Snow White Evil Queen
2013-2017 Game of Thrones Olenna Tyrell
Olenna Tyrell
Olenna Tyrell

Diana Rigg’s portrayal as Tracy Bond in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969) is etched in cinematic history, offering a unique and compelling depiction of a Bond girl. Unlike many of her predecessors and successors in the Bond franchise, Rigg’s character was not merely a fleeting love interest or a damsel in distress. Tracy, as brought to life by Rigg, was a complex, multifaceted character – a woman of strength, vulnerability, and depth. She was not only Bond’s equal but also his wife, marking her as the only woman James Bond ever married in the film series. Rigg brought a nuanced, powerful performance that showcased her character’s strength and independence, making Tracy one of the most memorable and beloved characters in the Bond universe. Her role broke the mold of the typical Bond girl, providing a character that was not only romantically linked to the spy but also integral to the plot and emotional arc of the film. Rigg’s Tracy Bond remains a standout character in the Bond franchise, remembered for her intelligence, depth, and tragic love story with James Bond.

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Personal Life and Legacy

Diana Rigg was married to Israeli painter Menachem Gueffen from 1973 to 1976 and later to theatre producer Archibald Stirling from 1982 to 1990. She had one daughter, Rachael Stirling, who is also an actress.

Rigg was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1988 and was made a Dame in 1994 for her services to drama.

Awards and Honors

Throughout her career, Diana Rigg received numerous awards and nominations, including:

  • Tony Awards: Won Best Actress for “Medea” in 1994.
  • Emmy Awards: Won for her role in “Rebecca” in 1997 and received multiple nominations for “Game of Thrones”.

Death and Legacy

Diana Rigg passed away on 10 September 2020, at the age of 82, at her daughter’s home in London. Diagnosed with cancer in March of that year, Rigg spent her final months reflecting on her extraordinary life and career. Her death was met with global mourning and tributes, celebrating her significant contributions to the world of entertainment. Rigg’s legacy lives on through her extensive body of work, the memories of those who knew her, and the audiences who continue to admire her performances.


Q1: What caused Diana Riggs death?

Diana Rigg passed away on September 10, 2020, at the age of 82. Her death was attributed to cancer, which she had been privately battling for some time. Rigg was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2020, but she continued to work and maintain her vibrant spirit despite her diagnosis. Her daughter, Rachael Stirling, mentioned that Rigg spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter, and a deep pride in her profession.

Rigg’s death was met with an outpouring of grief and admiration from fans and colleagues around the world. Her legacy as a trailblazing actress, who broke barriers and delighted audiences with her talent, wit, and charisma, was celebrated in numerous tributes. Her family held a private funeral, and they requested that donations be made to the charity Denville Hall, a care home for elderly actors, in lieu of flowers.

Despite her diagnosis, Rigg remained active in her profession, demonstrating her unwavering dedication and passion for acting. Her final television appearance was in the Channel 5 drama “All Creatures Great and Small,” which was warmly received by audiences and critics alike. Her ability to work while battling a severe illness speaks volumes about her strength and commitment to her craft.

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Q2: When did Diana Rigg join The Avengers?

Diana Rigg joined the cast of “The Avengers” in 1965, stepping into the role of Emma Peel and quickly becoming a beloved figure on the show. Her character, Emma Peel, was known for her intelligence, wit, and martial arts skills, making her a groundbreaking character for the portrayal of women on television during that era. Rigg’s portrayal was pivotal in establishing Emma Peel as a feminist icon and a character beloved by audiences globally.

Emma Peel became synonymous with the cultural and feminist shifts occurring during the 1960s. Rigg’s portrayal was celebrated for its complexity, blending strength and vulnerability, intellect and emotion, in a way that was rare for female characters of that time. Her role in “The Avengers” not only catapulted her to international stardom but also left a lasting impact on the entertainment industry regarding how women could be portrayed on screen.

Rigg was part of “The Avengers” for two seasons, from 1965 to 1968, before departing to explore new opportunities in her career. Her departure from the show was on amicable terms, and she went on to achieve further success in various roles across film, television, and theatre. Rigg’s time on “The Avengers” remains one of the most celebrated chapters of her career, and her character, Emma Peel, continues to be a beloved cultural icon.

Q3: Who is Diana Riggs husband?

Diana Rigg was married twice during her lifetime. Her first husband was Menachem Gueffen, an Israeli painter. They got married in 1973, but unfortunately, their union was short-lived, and they divorced in 1976. Despite the brevity of their marriage, Rigg and Gueffen were a notable pair in the social circles of the time, often featured in various publications and media.

Rigg’s second marriage was to Archibald Stirling, a theatre producer and former officer in the Scots Guards. They were married in 1982, and their union was blessed with a daughter, Rachael Stirling, who has also pursued a career in acting. Rigg and Stirling’s marriage lasted until 1990, when they decided to part ways following a period of separation and subsequent divorce.

Despite the end of her marriages, Rigg maintained a positive and pragmatic view of love and relationships throughout her life. She was known for her independent spirit and her ability to find happiness and fulfillment in her work and personal life. Rigg was not defined by her marital status but rather by her immense talent, her vibrant personality, and the rich legacy she left behind in the world of entertainment.

Q4: How much did Diana Rigg leave in her will?

The exact amount Diana Rigg left in her will has not been publicly disclosed, and discussing such specifics might delve into privacy and respect issues for her surviving family members. Diana Rigg was a highly successful actress throughout her career, which spanned over six decades, and it is presumed that she accumulated substantial wealth through her various roles in film, television, and theatre.

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Rigg was known to be a private individual when it came to her personal and financial matters. She was more often recognized for her philanthropy and support for various causes, including acting charities and organizations dedicated to supporting actors and actresses throughout their careers and into retirement. Her generosity and kindness were often highlighted by those who knew her personally.

It is essential to respect the privacy and wishes of Rigg’s family during this time and to focus on celebrating her life, career, and the tremendous impact she had on the entertainment industry and audiences worldwide. Her legacy lives on through her impressive body of work, her contributions to the arts, and the memories shared by those who knew and loved her.

Q5: Why was Martin Riggs killed?

It seems like there might be a confusion here. Martin Riggs is a fictional character from the “Lethal Weapon” film series and is not related to Diana Rigg. Martin Riggs, portrayed by Mel Gibson, is a police officer and one of the main characters in the series. The question about why Martin Riggs was killed might pertain to the television adaptation of “Lethal Weapon,” where the character meets his demise.

In the television series “Lethal Weapon,” Martin Riggs, played by Clayne Crawford, is killed off at the end of the second season. The character’s death was a plot device used to write off Crawford, who was reportedly dismissed from the series due to issues on set related to his behavior and work environment conflicts. The decision to kill off the character was driven by behind-the-scenes dynamics rather than narrative considerations.

It’s crucial to clarify that Martin Riggs and Diana Rigg are entirely unrelated entities – one being a fictional character from a film and TV series, and the other being a celebrated, real-life actress. It’s always a good idea to verify information and ensure clarity to avoid any mix-ups or misunderstandings in discussions about people and characters.

Q6: Why did Diana push her stepmother?

There seems to be no widely-known incident or account of Diana Rigg pushing her stepmother in any public records or biographies. It’s possible that this might be a fictional event or a misunderstanding. Diana Rigg was widely respected and admired for her professionalism and kindness, both in her public and private life. It’s essential to approach such topics with caution and ensure that the information is accurate and verified.

If this question is based on a fictional event from a movie, series, or play in which Diana Rigg was involved, it might be beneficial to specify the context to provide accurate and relevant information. Diana Rigg played various roles throughout her career, some of which might have involved complex and challenging familial relationships as part of a storyline.

It’s crucial to differentiate between an actor and the roles they portray on screen or stage. Actors often engage in actions or behaviors in character that do not reflect their personal beliefs, values, or actions in their off-screen lives. Always ensure to separate the artist from the art and recognize that their performances are a testament to their professional abilities rather than a reflection of their personal lives.

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