Fabulous Photographs of Dame Diana Rigg

Yes I have a dark side, doesn’t everyone? I’ve played a lot of evil, ball-breaking women. And, if you’re honest, you’ll just drag up from the depths all the times you’ve hated or felt passionately about something and play it.

Diana in the Avengers episode ‘A Touch of Brimstone’ in 1966

 

Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg was born in Doncaster in Yorkshire in 1938 and perhaps best known for playing Emma Peel in the TV series The Avengers and Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, wife of James Bond, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service from 1969. To the younger amongst us she is best known these days for playing Olenna Tyrell in four series of Game of Thrones. Rigg was the first Game of Thrones cast member to be a knight in real life, having been made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to the arts in 1994.

After studying at RADA Diana Rigg became famous on both sides of the Atlantic for playing Emma Peel in ABC’s The Avengers. After a dozen episodes, however, she found out that she was being paid less than a cameraman. For her second series of the show she managed to triple her pay from £150 a week to £450. In 2019 she was reported for saying:

Not one woman in the industry supported me … Neither did Patrick [Macnee, her co-star]… But I was painted as this mercenary creature by the press when all I wanted was equality. It’s so depressing that we are still talking about the gender pay gap.

Rigg smoked 20 cigarettes a day for over fifty years and only gave up in 2009. In December 2017 she had heart surgery and afterwards said: “My heart had stopped ticking during the procedure, so I was up there and the good Lord must have said, ‘Send the old bag down again, I’m not having her yet!'”

In Game of Thrones Rigg played the role of Olenna Tyrell and first appeared in season three and killed off in the seventh. Rigg is the first Game of Thrones cast member to be a sort of knight in real life, having been made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to the arts in 1994.

“I hope there’s a tinge of disgrace about me. Hopefully, there’s one good scandal left in me yet.”

There were no prototypes for me – the telly was full of little blonde juveniles.

King Lear, 1962 Diana Rigg as Cordelia by Angus McBean

Diana Rigg On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1969

If you’re earning equal pay to a man, you get respect. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

 

 

Diana Rigg (as Emma Peel in The Avengers) Stage and TV actress Diana Rigg 1965 (Fred Mott)

Diana Rigg, Actress, soon to take on the role of Emma Peel in The Avengers ABC TV Series, pictured at her parents home in Roundhay, Leeds, 19th April 1965.

Diana Rigg Avengers behind the scenes

In Game of Thrones Rigg played the role of Olenna Tyrell and first appeared in season three and killed off in the seventh. Rigg is the first Game of Thrones cast member to be a sort of knight in real life, having been made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to the arts in 1994.

‘Game of Thrones’ is wonderful. My theory is they employ all these British actors because, one, they are like me and grateful. Two, we turn up, and we know our lines. Three, we don’t demand a 60 ft. Winnebago and PA, and four, largely we are very uncomplaining.

There is a life after being at the pinnacle of your beauty. Plenty of life and fun.

Diana Rigg, Patrick Macnee : production still from The Avengers, season 4, episode 21, “A Touch of Brimstone” (first broadcast February 9, 1966

I’m portrayed as this tough broad, but I’m not.

Diana Rigg as Célimène in The Misanthrope.

In actual fact, I doubled ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘The Avengers’. I was going backwards and forwards to Stratford. I played matinees Wednesday, matinee and evenings Saturdays, and the other days of the week, I was filming in Elstree.

Diana Rigg, 26, the new heroine of the television series ‘The Avengers’ today met her leading man at the Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street, 14th December 1964. Photo by Doreen Spooner

Diana Rigg at her parents home in Roundhay, Leeds, 19th April 1965. Photo by Daily Mirror

Diana Rigg

Julius Caesar Diana Rigg

Ian Hendry + Diana Rigg – Theatre Of Blood [1973]

Diana Rigg in a replica of the bathroom at her St Johns Wood flat, which has been built on the Electricity stand, at the Ideal Home Exhibition

Diana Rigg as Emma Peel

Diana Rigg

Diana Rigg

The Hospital (1972)

1966 photo provided by ABC shows Patrick Macnee as John Steed, and Diana Rigg

Diana Rigg Patrick McGee and Liz Fraser

I hope there’s a tinge of disgrace about me. Hopefully, there’s one good scandal left in me yet.

 

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

I wouldn’t like to see a female Bond, because we wouldn’t want to lose the Bond girls. But we could have a lesbian Bond – why not?

Mostly what you remember and enjoy are the scenes you played with people. And quite often, they’re the combative scenes!

The Avengers Diana Rigg as Emma Peel Styling Hair

Diana Rigg as ‘Emma Peel’ is tied to a railway track as a miniature train advances on her in a scene from the television series ‘The Avengers’ in 1968

Diana Rigg, Actress a.k.a. Emma Peel, dressed as Robin Hood for an episode of The Avengers ABC TV Series, titled ‘A Sense of History’, Photo-call on set, 15th February 1966.

 

 

 

We apologise for the late arrival of your train. The wrong kind of woman is on the tracks.

George Lazenby and Diana Rigg (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – 1969)

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service German Lobby Card, 1969

George Lazenby and Diana Rigg (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – 1969)

The Avengers Diana Rigg as Emma Peel

I’d love to have done more film, but you can’t have everything.

English actress Diana Rigg , models an ice-blue lame trouser suit from the upcoming 'The Avengers' episode 'Castle De'Ath', 29th September 1965. Jean Varon sells the outfit for 29 guineas, Diana Rigg, Diana Rigg sexy

English actress Diana Rigg models an ice-blue lame trouser suit from the upcoming ‘The Avengers’ episode ‘Castle De’Ath’, 29th September 1965. Jean Varon sells the outfit for 29 guineas.

Television has taught me an economy of style I didn’t have before. I feel it has done me nothing but good.

File dated 27.9.65 of actor Patrick Macnee, as John Steed, and Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, in the sixties hit series The Avengers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuAaoz4Qx3Y

Diana Rigg

 

Behind the scenes with Diana Rigg during filming for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

I confess I do a lot of the wrong things: I smoke, and I drink wine, and people might be horrified at my eating habits – I eat when I’m hungry, and if I’m not, I don’t.

 

Diana Rigg (as Emma Peel in The Avengers) Stage and TV actress Diana Rigg 1965 (Fred Mott)

Diana Rigg in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese off Fleet Street – photo by Doreen Spooner.

 

At the press launch announcing the film at the Hilton on Park Lane.

I’ve always been on the side of fully emancipated women with independent minds.

 

Oliver Reed and Diana Rigg promote their Paramount film The Assassination Bureau at London’s Hilton Hotel.

Lobby card for Assassination Bureau filmed in 1968 and not released until the following year.

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Oliver Reed and Diana Rigg promote their Paramount film The Assassination Bureau at London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane.

An awful lot of actors shy away from the uglier aspects of the human condition. They want to be liked, which is a cop-out. You’ve got to go for it.

 

England, 1968, Diana Rigg is pictured in a scene from the television series “The Avengers” where her character Emma Peel is tied to train tracks and is about to be run over by a miniature train.

Actor George Lazenby with actress Diana Rigg during a press conference for the James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ in London, 14th October 1968.

George Lazenby was ill-equipped. It’s not for nothing that they didn’t offer him any sequels.