Diana Rigg, British star of stage and screen, dies aged 82

London: British actress Diana Rigg, who came to fame in the cult 1960s TV show The Avengers and more recently appeared in Game of Thrones, has died aged 82.

Rigg, who had a long career in theatre as well as appearing in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service where her character marries the British spy, died peacefully at home with her family.

Diana Rigg as Lady Oleanna Tyrell in Game of Thrones.

Her agent Simon Beresford said she died on Thursday morning. Rigg’s daughter, Rachael Stirling, said she died of cancer.

"My beloved ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family," Stirling said in a statement.

"She died of cancer diagnosed in March, and spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and a deep pride in her profession. I will miss her beyond words."

Rigg starred in The Avengers alongside Patrick McNee’s bowler-hatted John Steed. They played an impeccably dressed duo who fought villains and traded quips in a show whose mix of adventure and humour was enduringly influential.

Rigg starred in spy thriller On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as the only woman ever to marry James Bond. In later life, she played Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones.

Her latest television series, a remake of All Creatures Great and Small, began airing just last week in the UK.

Born in Doncaster in northern England, Rigg moved with her family to India before returning to go to school in England. She studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before making her debut at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959.

It was her role as the karate-kicking leather-clad secret agent Emma Peel in The Avengers that brought her to wide attention.

"For half her life Diana was the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what used to be called a Trouper," British playwright Tom Stoppard said in a statement on Thursday. "She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone. Her talent was luminous."


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