Dame Diana Rigg, the Avenger Who Became the Queen of Thorns, Has Died at 82

Dame Diana Rigg, the Avenger Who Became the Queen of Thorns, Has Died at 82
Diana Rigg at the opening ceremony of the 2nd edition of the Cannes International Series Festival. (Photo: Valerie Hache/Getty, Getty Images)

To look at actress Dame Diana Rigg’s filmography is to look back at a lifetime of performances defined by a person’s singular panache and talent for slipping so deeply into a wide bevvy of roles, that each time she stepped onto screen, you could scarcely believe that the same person had inhabited so many different roles.

On Thursday morning, the BBC announced that Rigg, famous for her roles in films like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and in television series like The Avengers, Doctor Who, and Game on Thrones, died in her home at the age of 82. According to Rigg’s close family, she died peacefully while sleeping, and they are currently asking to be left alone while grieving.

While cult British TV gave us Rigg’s starring role as spy-fi icon Emma Peel in The Avengers, Rigg found herself a whole new generation of fans as Lady Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones, the sublimely sharp-tounged matriarch known as the Queen of Thorns. Ever ready with a cutting remark and seemingly two steps ahead of even her most conniving rivals, Rigg’s performance balancing humour and that penchant for a pitch-perfect delivery of the sassiest responses Westeros could offer instantly made her a fan-favourite, right until her final appearances.

Though Rigg is sure to be missed by many, the fact that the famed actress absolutely loved her craft is the reason that she’s actually still slated to make two posthumous appearances on screen, in the BBC’s upcoming production of Black Narcissus due out at some point in 2020, and Edgar Wright’s psychological horror film Last Night in Soho meant to premiere in 2021.

Our thoughts are with her family in this sad time.

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