News: Dame Diana Rigg, star of stage and screen, has died
2020 continues to be another year of hardship and loss, with the news that Dame Diana Rigg has passed away aged 82. Dame Diana was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2020, and battled as best she could for the following months. She died peacefully at her home in London, England surrounded by family.
Born in Doncaster in the North East of England, Dame Diana spent most of her childhood years in India, moving out there with her parents after her father took work as a railway executive in Bikaner. It was only after nearly eight years did she move back home, with Hindi as a second language, to continue her studies on home soil.
A student and graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art from 1955 to 1957, Dame Diana launched her career soon after in a few bit parts in British drama. Her natural beauty, eloquence and screen presence was an immediate hit with audiences and production crews.
To make the most of this new flame on the circuit, Dame Diana was cast as British secret agent Emma Peel opposite Patrick Macanee in the beloved 60s spy show 'The Avengers'. This made her a household name, and led to her title as a "sex symbol", opening the door for more TV work and films following her 8 year stretch in the role.
While never breaking America as much as she had hoped early in her career, she starred in a number of high profile films during the 70s and 80s like 'Theatre of Blood', 'Evil Under the Sun' and 'The Worst Witch'.
Film wise, she will best known for playing Teresa "Tracy" di Vicenzo in the 1969 James Bond film 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' opposite George Lazenby. Tracy is one of the most memorable Bond girls of the near 60 year old franchise thanks to the fiery and performance by Dame Diana. She gave Tracy her own sense of strength that was an equal match for 007.
So much so, Tracy also became the first (and only) woman to be Mrs James Bond.
Dame Diana continued to work mostly in television through the 80s, 90s and even into the 00s thanks to her endearing spirit, talent and unmistakable presence on screen. Hit shows that introduced her to new generations of fans include 'Extras' alongside Ricky Gervais, period drama 'Victoria' and as Olenna Tyrell in the global hit 'Game of Thrones'.
It's safe to say there was so much more to Dame Diana Rigg than just the title of a Bond girl.
Working across television and theater until her diagnosis in 2020, Dame Diana was an instantly recognisable face and voice of British talent. As a mother, grand-mother, and a huge part of pop culture thanks to her timeless roles, natural beauty and passion for the arts, she will be greatly missed by all.