James Bond, ‘Avengers’ Star Diana Rigg Dies at 82

September 10, 2020 Updated: September 10, 2020

LONDON—Diana Rigg, a British actress who became a 1960s style icon as secret agent Emma Peel in TV series “The Avengers,” has died. She was 82.

Rigg’s agent Simon Beresford said she died Thursday morning at home with her family. Daughter Rachael Stirling said she died of cancer that was diagnosed in March.

Diana Rigg
British actress Diana Rigg, in UK, on Oct. 27, 1978. (Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Rigg “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,” Stirling said.

Rigg starred in “The Avengers” alongside Patrick McNee’s bowler-hatted John Steed. The pair was an impeccably dressed duo who fought villains and traded quips in a show whose mix of adventure and humor was enduringly influential.

Rigg also starred in 1967 James Bond thriller “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” as the only woman ever to marry Agent 007.

Diana Rigg
Britain’s Diana Rigg arrives at the 72nd annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York, N.Y., on June 10, 2018. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

In later life, she played Olenna Tyrell in “Game of Thrones” and the Duchess of Buccleuch in “Victoria,” and starred alongside her daughter in British sitcom “Detectorists.”

Rigg spent several years in the 1960s as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and combined screen work with an acclaimed stage career, in plays including Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage” and Tom Stoppard’s “Jumpers” at the National Theatre in London.

Stoppard said Rigg was “the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what used to be called a Trouper.”

“She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone. Her talent was luminous.”