Dame Diana Rigg died this week after a cancer diagnosis in March, spending her last days appreciating a life well lived. And what a life it was. Rigg became a global star, for the first time, when another group of Avengers became genre darlings. Often cited as the pop culture gold standard of “mod” fashion and style that defines our retrospective look back at the “swinging” 1960s. She also has the unique distinction of being the only woman to marry James Bond, when she appeared with George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. To younger folks, she’s most known for being one of the best characters on Game of Thrones, Lady Olenna Tyrell. As brutal and conniving as any of the nebulous villains on the show, Rigg made the character a fan favorite.
In a way, she and Chadwick Boseman, who also died this month from cancer, share a similar quality. They are each respected “serious” actors and beloved figures in fantastical genre stories. She’s won multiple Emmys and BAFTA awards, as well as given the honorary title of “Dame” by the British crown. Yet, she’d be equally honored on the floor of Comic-Con or at a Doctor Who convention.
A trailblazer, Dame Diana Rigg was once a working actor fighting for equal pay from the Associated British Corporation, who produced The Avengers. She refused to return to the role unless she earned as much as her male co-star, Patrick Macnee. Rather than being supported by her peers and the press, she was painted as greedy and opportunistic. Rigg then left the show to work in film, often returning to television and the stage.
She also worked with educational charity International Care & Relief, known today as Build Africa. She was 82.
What’s your favorite role Dame Diana Rigg played? Share your thoughts and memories in the comments below.
Featured image via HBO
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.