“She died of cancer diagnosed in March, and spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life,” said Rigg’s daughter, Rachael Stirling.
Emmy award-winning British actress Diana Rigg, who starred as Olenna Tyrell in “Game of Thrones” and Emma Peel in “The Avengers” TV series, has died, her daughter confirmed Thursday. She was 82.
“My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family,” Rachael 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.”
Calling her “an icon of theater, film, and television,” Simon Beresford, Rigg’s agent, said in a statement that she was “a much loved and admired member of her profession, a force of nature who loved her work and her fellow actors.”
He added that Rigg would be “greatly missed.”
Rigg was nominated for nine prime-time Emmy Awards, winning outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or special in 1997 for her role as Mrs. Danvers in “Rebecca.” The Emmy came seven years after she won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for her performance in the four-part drama “Mother Love.”
Rigg, an acclaimed stage actress, was also nominated for three Tony awards, winning best lead actress in a play in 1994 for her role in “Medea.”
She was created a dame — the equivalent of knighthood for men — in 1994 for services to drama.
Early in her career, Rigg became famous for her role as Emma Peel in the TV series “The Avengers.” She also played Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, James Bond’s wife, in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” It is the only time the fictional British spy has been married.
More recently, Rigg played Olenna Tyrell in “Game of Thrones.”
John Bradley, who starred alongside her, described Rigg as “just wonderful” in a tribute on Twitter.
“You all knew that already,” he wrote. “Everybody did. Very sad news.”
Diana Rigg was just wonderful. But you all knew that already. Everybody did. Very sad news. #dianarigg
— John Bradley (@johnbradleywest) September 10, 2020
Playwright Tom Stoppard also paid tribute.
“For half her life, Diana was the most beautiful woman in the room but she was what used to be called a trooper,” he said in a statement. “She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone.”
His fellow playwright David Hare said in a statement that Rigg “had a dazzling change of direction in middle age as a great classical actor.”
He added that “her talent was luminous.”