Dame Diana Rigg - star of The Avengers and Bond movie - has died, aged 82

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

Dame Diana Rigg - an actor best known for roles in The Avengers and Game Of Thrones - has died, aged 82.

She had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and died peacefully at home, her daughter said.

Her agent confirmed the news of her passing. Dame Diana - who also starred in the Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service - became a worldwide star during the 1960s.

A statement from Simon Beresford said: “It is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Dame Diana Rigg died peacefully early this morning.

“She was at home with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time. Dame Diana was an icon of theatre, film, and television.

Diana Rigg in 2019 Credit: PA

“She was the recipient of Bafta, Emmy, Tony and Evening Standard Awards for her work on stage and screen.

“Dame Diana was a much loved and admired member of her profession, a force of nature who loved her work and her fellow actors. She will be greatly missed.”

Dame Diana’s daughter, actress Rachael Stirling, said: “My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family. 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”.

Dame Diana was best known for her roles as Emma Peel in the TV series The Avengers, and more recently for playing Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones.

She also played Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, James Bond’s wife, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and was a highly acclaimed theatre actress.

She was made a dame in 1994 for services to drama.

The League Of Gentlemen’s Mark Gatiss paid tribute to Dame Diana saying “there will never be another”.

He tweeted: “It was my great joy and privilege to have known Diana Rigg. From three slightly hysterical months at the Old Vic in All About Mother to writing The Crimson Horror for Diana and her wonderful daughter Rachael. Flinty, fearless, fabulous. There will never be another. RIP”.

Diana Rigg rehearsing for Tom Stoppard's award-winning comedy, Jumpers, at the Old Vic theatre. Credit: PA

Sir David Hare and Sir Tom Stoppard paid tribute to Dame Diana.

Sir David said: “Diana Rigg had a dazzling change of direction in middle age as a great classical actor. When Emma Peel played Euripides’ Medea, Albee’s Martha and Brecht’s Mother Courage she swept all before her”.

Sir Tom said: “For half her life, Diana was the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what used to be called a trooper. She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone. Her talent was luminous”.