Skip to main content

Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones and The Avengers actress, dead at 82

Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones HBO

Actress Dame Diana Rigg, best known for her roles in the TV spy series The Avengers and the megahit Game of Thrones, died Thursday, September 10. 

She was 82 years old. 

Rigg died surrounded by her family after suffering from cancer that was diagnosed in March, according to a statement from her family.

Rigg “spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter, and a deep pride in her profession,” her daughter, actress Rachael Stirling, told the Associated Press. ”I will miss her beyond words.”

Many baby boomers would recognize her for her role in The Avengers TV series which ran from 1961-1968, in which she played the role of secret agent Emma Peel. She reportedly auditioned for the role on a whim.

Diana Rigg in 1961 as Emma Peel in The Avengers TV series. Sunset Boulevard / Getty Images

Rigg first appeared on the silver screen in The Assassination Bureau in 1969. She later played James Bond’s wife, Tracy Bond, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Rigg shot back into stardom thanks to her role on Game of Thrones, where she played Lady Olenna Tyrell from 2013-2017. The role, which became a fan-favorite, earned her four Primetime Emmy nominations.

She was given the title of Dame, a British order of chivalry, in 1994 in recognition of her many years of contributions to drama. In her career that spanned more than 11 decades, she received BAFTA, Emmy, Tony, and Evening Standards Awards. 

Rigg is survived by her daughter, Rachael Stirling; her son-in-law, Guy Garvey, and her grandson, Jack Stirling Garvey. 

Editors' Recommendations

Allison Matyus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Allison Matyus is a general news reporter at Digital Trends. She covers any and all tech news, including issues around social…
Game of Thrones: How George R. R. Martin’s world can expand in animation
Young Princess Rhaenyra with her dragon Syrax looming behind her.

The recent Warner Bros. Discovery merger seems to have added a layer of tense unpredictability regarding the state of WB's IPs, but it seems that writer George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones world will stay the course with the upcoming House of the Dragon around the corner.

It would be bizarre if it didn't, as it is HBO's most historic TV series and proved to be a cultural phenomenon in the process. And with reports of many spinoffs in the works, the network should look to animation as another worthy avenue to explore. Per those reports, there are at least some such projects already in development, and taking advantage of animation's newfound appreciation could prove to be something more than worth doubling down on.
Exploring uncharted territory
House of the Dragon | Official Trailer | HBO Max

Read more
Game of Thrones: Best Daenerys Targaryen episodes to prep for House of the Dragon
Daenerys Targaryen with Drogon behind her in Game of Thrones.

The three-plus-year drought of Game of Thrones-related content is finally coming to a close, as HBO's prequel series House of the Dragon is set to premiere toward the end of August. It will chronicle the beginning of the end of the Targaryen dynasty in Westeros, leading both the family and the dragons they brought to become endangered.

Emilia Clarke's portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones undoubtedly made her and her character a fantasy icon alongside the likes of Jon Snow and, despite a controversial close to the show, had one of the most engrossing character arcs. From the birth of her three draconic sons to her explosive arrival in Westeros, these are some of the best Daenerys-themed episodes worth revisiting before House of the Dragon's premiere.
Winter is Coming (season 1, episode 1)

Read more
Where Game of Thrones’ sequel series could take Jon Snow
Jon Snow

Even with a squandered final season and three years separating the show's finale from 2022, Game of Thrones cemented its place in TV history as a cultural and fantasy phenomenon, as well as still being one of the network's most-watched shows. That makes it both surprising and expected that industry titan HBO is looking to follow it up with a Jon Snow-led sequel series, per The Hollywood Reporter's bombshell exclusive.

HBO already has the highly-anticipated prequel House of the Dragon set to premiere this August to chronicle the beginning of the end for the Targaryans' once-dominant influence over Westeros, but Kit Harington could lead Game of Thrones to even more uncharted territory. That's especially so considering series author George R. R. Martin hasn't provided any source material beyond the A Song of Ice and Fire saga (or the last two novels). Despite the wildly ambitious nature of a potential Jon Snow Game of Thrones sequel show, there are quite a few general premises HBO can explore.
Beyond the wall

Read more