Actress Diana Rigg passed away yesterday due to cancer that was diagnosed in March.
Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg, this is her full name, was born on July 20, 1938, in Doncaster, Yorkshire. Shortly after her birth, her family moved to India. When she was 8, she was sent to a boarding school in England. Between 1955 and 1957 she studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Diana Rigg’s acting career began in the theater, and in the late 1950s, she also began to find roles in television productions. Fame came when she was cast to play Emma Peel in the TV show “The Avengers“. She wanted to leave the show in 1966, after one season, because she discovered her pay was even lower than that of cameramen and stayed another season just because her pay tripled. Fame brought her advantages for her career, but it was difficult to manage in her private life, also because she became a sex symbol.
Thanks to her fame, Diana Rigg started getting roles in cinema productions, among which stands out her role as Contessa Teresa “Tracy” di Vicenzo in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” in 1969, in which she marries agent 007, for the occasion played by George Lazenby.
In the 1970s, Diana Rigg worked in various Broadway productions, earning her first Tony Award nominations. She also had other roles in cinema productions such as “The Hospital” (1971), “Theater of Blood” (1973), and “A Little Night Music” (1977), and televisions productions such as “Diana”, which aired between 1973 and 1974, and “Three Piece Suite”, which aired in 1977.
In the 1980s, Diana Rigg also alternated in various types of productions, from stage plays to movies such as “The Great Muppet Caper” (1981), and “Evil Under the Sun” (1982) to TV movies, sometimes adaptations of plays such as “Hedda Gabler” (1981) and “King Lear” (1983). In 1989 she also started hosting the anthology show “Mystery!”.
In the 1990s, Diana Rigg received various awards to confirm that she was an eclectic actress. In 1990 she received the BAFTA for Best Actress in the miniseries “Mother Love”, in 1994 she received the Tony Award for Best Actress in “Medea”, and in 1997 she won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in the television miniseries “Rebecca”.
After a decade in which Diana Rigg worked mainly on stage plays, in recent years her fame was renewed thanks to participation in high-level Tv shows such as “Game of Thrones”, “Doctor Who”, and “Victoria”.
In her life, Diana Rigg married twice. With her second husband, she had a daughter, Rachael Stirling, also an actress. She suffered from various health problems in recent years, and the cancer diagnosed in March was fatal. In her long career, she has been appreciated in theater, cinema, and television, but Emma Peel remained her most iconic character.