Diana Rigg, ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘The Avengers’ actress, dies at 82

Actress Diana Rigg, known for her roles in “Game of Thrones," the 1960s “The Avengers” television series and the James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” has died, according to multiple reports. She was 82.

Rigg’s agent confirmed to The Guardian on Thursday that the British actress died “peacefully... at home with her family, who have asked for privacy at this difficult time."

Rigg’s daughter, actress Rachael Stirling, told BBC News that her mother died of cancer, which she had been diagnosed with in March.

“She spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and a deep pride in her profession,” she said, according to BBC News.

Rigg told CBS News in 2018 that she had always wanted to be an actress but she lacked confidence in her youth.

“You see, I came from a Yorkshire family, and compliments were never given,” she told the news network. “Their way of loving you was telling you what was wrong with you.”

She studied at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the 1950s before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company. She told CBS News in 2018 that when she left for a starring role on “The Avengers,” she was “despised” by her colleagues in theater. Still, she said she felt the need to broaden her career.

“My agent put me up for ‘The Avengers' and I didn’t have telly, so I didn’t know what it was,” she told The Daily Telegraph in 2008. “When it came out, I was suddenly famous. It was startling. From being anonymous, I was mobbed.”

The role, alongside Patrick McNee’s bowler-hatted John Steed, shot Rigg to international fame.

In 1967, she starred in the James Bond thriller “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service" as the only woman ever to marry, albeit briefly, Agent 007. She had several acclaimed roles in the 1990s at London’s Almeida Theatre, including Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and the title role in Greek tragedy “Medea,” which earned her a Tony Award.

Jonathan Kent, who directed Rigg in some of her great stage roles, told BBC News that her “combination of force of personality, beauty, courage and sheer emotional power made her a great classical actress — one of an astonishing generation of British stage performers.”

In later life, she played Olenna Tyrell — the sharp-tongued “Queen of Thorns” — in the HBO fantasy drama “Game of Thrones,” receiving an Emmy Award nomination for the role.

She never retired. One of Rigg’s final television roles was in rural veterinary drama “All Creatures Great and Small,” which is currently running on British television.

Rigg is survived by her daughter, son-in-law Guy Garvey — lead singer of the band Elbow — and a grandson.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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