Diana Rigg Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (54)  | Personal Quotes (20)

Overview (4)

Born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, UK
Died in London, England, UK  (lung cancer)
Birth NameEnid Diana Elizabeth Rigg
Height 5' 8½" (1.74 m)

Mini Bio (1)

British actress Dame Diana Rigg was born on July 20, 1938 in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England. She has had an extensive career in film and theatre, including playing the title role in "Medea", both in London and New York, for which she won the 1994 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.

Rigg made her professional stage debut in 1957 in the Caucasian Chalk Circle, and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959. She made her Broadway debut in the 1971 production of "Abelard & Heloise". Her film roles include Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968); Lady Holiday in The Great Muppet Caper (1981); and Arlene Marshall in Evil Under the Sun (1982). She won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the BBC miniseries Mother Love (1989), and an Emmy Award for her role as Mrs. Danvers in the adaptation of Rebecca (1997). In 2013, she appeared with her daughter Rachael Stirling on the BBC series Doctor Who (2005) in an episode titled "The Crimson Horror" and plays Olenna Tyrell on the HBO series Game of Thrones (2011).

From 1965 to 1968, Rigg appeared on the British television series The Avengers (1961) playing the secret agent Mrs. Emma Peel. She became a Bond girl in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), playing Tracy Bond, James Bond's only wife, opposite George Lazenby. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) at the 1988 Queen's New Years Honours for her services to drama. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) at the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours for her services to drama.

Dame Diana Rigg died of lung cancer on September 10, 2020, she was 82 years old.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Pedro Borges

Family (3)

Spouse Archibald Hugh (Archie) Stirling (25 March 1982 - 31 August 1990)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Menachen Gueffen (6 July 1973 - 3 September 1976)  (divorced)
Children Rachael Stirling
Parents Rigg, Louis
Helliwell, Beryl

Trade Mark (1)

Deep husky yet smooth voice

Trivia (54)

More properly known as Dame Diana Rigg, the female equivalent of the title "Sir" when knighted. In June 1994, she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for her long contributions to theater and film.
She received Tony Award nominations as Best Actress (Dramatic) for "Abelard and Heloise" (1972) and for "The Misanthrope" (1975). She won the Best Actress (Play) Tony Award in 1994 for her performance in the title role of "Medea". In recent years, her performances in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Mother Courage and Her Children" have led critics to proclaim her one of the greatest actresses on the British stage.
A savage review from John Simon for her performance in "Abelard and Heloise" led her to collect devastating theatrical reviews throughout history. The result was her book, "No Turn Unstoned", published in 1982.
She was Chancellor of University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland, UK from for a ten year term from 1998 to 2008. She also received an honorary degree from the same University in 1988, ten years before becoming University Chancellor there, and which officially had no connection. Coincidentally, Rigg was married to Archibald Hugh (Archie) Stirling from 1982-1990, but there was no connection between her ex-husband and the University of the same name, nor for that matter her daughter, Rachael Stirling.
She was voted the sexiest-ever television star by TV Guide in the United States.
Mother of Rachael Stirling (born 1977).
20 October 2003 - British courts awarded her $63,832 and $134,000 in court expenses in her libel suit against Britain's "Evening Standard" and "Daily Mail" newspapers. They had written that she was an embittered woman who held British men in low regard.
She was nominated for 1999 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award (1998 season) for Best Actress for her performances in both "Britannicus" and "Phèdre".
She was nominated for 1997 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Play of 1996 for her performance in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?".
She was awarded the 1992 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance in "Medea".
She was awarded the 1996 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performances in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Mother Courage".
Born in Yorkshire, the daughter of a railroad engineer, she moved with her family to India at the age of two months and resided there until she was 8 (she learned to speak Hindi).
Was the first major actor (along with co-star Keith Michell) to appear nude onstage, i.e. in the production of "Abelard and Heloise" (1970).
Became an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company (1967) and was the first as such to join the National Theatre of Great Britain (1971).
Graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London, England; became an Associate Member.
She was forced to turn down the role of Elizabeth in Paint Your Wagon (1969) with Clint Eastwood, due to illness. Jean Seberg replaced her.
Best known by the public for her role as Mrs. Emma Peel on The Avengers (1961).
Her ex-husband, Archibald Stirling, is the nephew of Colonel Sir David Stirling, founder of the Special Air Service (SAS).
A smoker from the age of 18, Rigg was still smoking 20 cigarettes a day in 2009. By December 2017, she had stopped smoking after serious illness led to heart surgery, a cardiac ablation, two months earlier. A devout Christian, she commented that: "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!'".
Is the only Dame to have acted in the Doctor Who franchise.
Daughter of Louis Rigg (1903-1968) and Beryl Hilda Rigg (née Helliwell) (1908-1981).
Her first husband, Menachem Gueffen, was an Israeli artist.
Winner of Doctor Who Magazine Best Guest Actress for 2013.
Although she played Gabriele Ferzetti's daughter in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), she is only 13 years his junior.
Her smaller-than-usual role on Detectorists (2014) is explained by the fact that her character's daughter, the female lead on the series, is played by her real-life daughter Rachael Stirling.
She was awarded the 2014 Will Award, presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company, along with Stacy Keach and Sir John Hurt.
She named Theater of Blood (1973) as the best film she ever appeared in.
In 1973, she was reunited with The Avengers (1961) lead, Patrick Macnee, for the episode Diana: You Can't Go Back (1973).
In the 1960s, she resided for eight years with director Philip Saville, gaining attention in the tabloids when she disclaimed interest in marrying the older, already-married Saville, saying she had no desire "to be respectable".
She was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1988 Queen's New Years Honours List and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to drama.
She received honorary degrees from the University of Stirling (1988), the University of Leeds (1992), the University of Nottingham (1995), and London South Bank University (1996).
Michael Parkinson, who first interviewed Rigg in 1972, described her as the most desirable woman he ever met, who "radiated a lustrous beauty".
She turned down Judy Geeson's role in Brannigan (1975).
She was considered for guest roles in Doctor Who (1963) - Kassia in "The Keeper of Traken", Todd in "Kinda" and Jane Humpden in "The Awakening". She would later play Mrs. Gillyflower in Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror (2013) opposite her daughter Rachael Stirling.
She was Steve McQueen's choice to play his love interest in Le Mans (1971), but was unavailable. Elga Andersen was cast instead.
She declined to reprise her role as Emma Peel in The New Avengers (1976).
She was a Patron of International Care & Relief and was for many years the public face of the charity's child sponsorship scheme. She was also Chancellor of the University of Stirling, being succeeded by James Naughtie when her ten-year term of office ended on 31 July 2008.
She was considered for the role of Amy Sumner in Straw Dogs (1971), which went to Susan George.
She had never seen an episode of The Avengers (1961) when she auditioned for Emma Peel on a whim.
She had long been an outspoken critic of feminism, saying in 1969, "Women are in a much stronger position than men.".
She was considered for the role of Ursula Brangwen in Women in Love (1969), which went to Jennie Linden.
She refused to appear as Alice in the remake The Avengers (1998). The role went to Dame Eileen Atkins.
She was originally offered the starring role in Countess Dracula (1971), but turned down. The role went to Ingrid Pitt.
She was originally cast as Mrs. Agnes Cromwell in the war film The Sea Wolves (1980), but dropped out. The role went to Barbara Kellerman.
She appeared on two television series about Queen Victoria: as Baroness Lehzen in Victoria & Albert (2001) and The Duchess of Buccleuch in Victoria (2016).
She appeared in one film that has been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: The Hospital (1971).
She and The Avengers (1961) co-star, Patrick Macnee (a friend and mentor), both appeared in the James Bond movie franchise. She starred in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) (she was the only Bond girl to ever get James Bond to the altar), while Macnee appeared in A View to a Kill (1985).
Upon her death, she was cremated at Breakspear Crematorium in Ruislip, England. It hasn't been disclosed once they (her cremains) were either interred there or given to her family.
As an unfamiliar actress, she was mentored into the business by British actor Patrick Macnee. Her first television exposure with Macnee was a co-starring role opposite him in The Avengers (1961). Rigg played Macnee's young partner, Emma Peel, for 51 episodes, until her departure in 1968.
British actor Patrick Macnee took her under her wing, when Rigg was age 27. The friendship lasted for exactly 50 years until Macnee's death on June 23, 2015.
She received the Variety Club of Great Britain Award for Best Film Actress in Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun (1982).
She had a grandson, born 2017, to Rachael Stirling and Guy Garvey.
Born on the exact same date as Natalie Wood.
Before her death, she had never retired from acting.

Personal Quotes (20)

[on hitting middle age] I am devastated at what has happened. I have completely disappeared. I am totally invisible. I never really liked my sexy label but on the other hand, to disappear so totally is quite startling.
I don't go without make-up, though. I rather like that transformation in the morning from "I don't want to look in the mirror"; then you start pulling yourself together. It's a rather nice present to yourself that you can still do that.
I had an eye job in my early forties. Someone took a photograph of me in a play, after I'd lost a lot of weight, and I did look like Miss Havisham. I thought, "I have to do something - I'm too young to look like this." So I went and had an eyelift once the play was finished, and the doctor said that it would last only about eight years. I imagined after that it would all cave in with a terrible groaning sound, like scaffolding, but it didn't, and I haven't had anything done since. I look at women who are my age who look absolutely ravishing and I know they have had something done. Well, why not?
If I meet a woman who is immaculately groomed, I really admire her discipline. I grew up admiring out-of-this-world screen goddesses, such as Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth, but I have to acknowledge that I haven't the patience for getting dressed up very often - at my age you think: "Why bother?". Now that I'm older, I don't go to premieres or first-night parties, not even my own.
I didn't like my Bond Girl outfits. The designer was a friend of the directors and I thought they were too boring and middle-aged for my character. The right costumes are essential for getting into a part; I've witnessed many costume parades with grumpy or even weeping actors because they've been put into the wrong thing.
In those days, trousers were appallingly cut for women so I used to go to a gentlemen's tailor to have them made. Nowadays you can look at some quite highly priced clothes and be astonished at how badly they are finished. But then, people don't look for that any more, it's only old bags like me that do. When I need to look smart, I go for Armani because he's just absolutely brilliant at tailoring. I always dress for myself, not men or other women. I'm well aware of them though - you get the sweep of the eye up and down and I think: "You poor thing, are you so competitive that you have to measure yourself against everyone else?". It's so pathetic.
I think I was quite daring. I was once escorted out of a restaurant because I was wearing a trouser suit. It wasn't considered good breeding for a woman to go around in trousers after 6:00 pm, especially in smart restaurants and bars such as the Connaught Hotel, which served the best cocktails.
Society was so much more prudish in the 1960s. In one episode of The Avengers (1961), I played a belly dancer and I had to stick a jewel in my navel because the Americans wouldn't tolerate them. In those days, you didn't flash the boobs at all. What you did do to look glamorous was jack the boobs up and probably wear something quite low-cut.
The leather catsuit I wore in The Avengers (1961) was a total nightmare; it took a good 45 minutes to get unzipped to go to the loo. It was like struggling in and out of a wet-suit. Once I got into the jersey catsuits, they were very easy to wear but you had to watch for baggy knees; there is nothing worse. I got a lot of very odd fan mail while I was in that show, but my mum used to enjoy replying to it. Some of the men who wrote to me must have been a bit startled because she would offer really motherly advice. I would get a letter from a teenage boy, say, who was overexcited and my mother would write back saying: "My daughter is far too old for you and what you really need is a good run around the block.".
Look at me. I'm a dame and I'm a chancellor.
The older you get, I have to say, the funnier you find life. That's the only way to go. If you get serious about yourself as you get old, you are pathetic.
I think women of my age are still attractive. Men of my age aren't. They've got their cojones halfway to their knees. They have the same descent as boobs.
I don't know how your Guardian readers are going to take this, but I've had a housekeeper for 24 years [as of 2014]. So I'm well looked after. I'm a deeply spoiled woman. I make no apologies about it at all. I think they think: "Oh, poor woman, she's living on her own." Not a bit of it. My bed is turned down every night.
[on the possibility of remarriage in old age] I'm very good at living with somebody. I think my ex-husband would accede to this because I tend to please. I come from a generation where, when my dad arrived and parked the car, my mother rush upstairs and put some lipstick on, which I think is so charming. I'm wasted living by myself, in a sense. But don't anybody, please, take that as an invitation to step forward.
I don't want to retire. I never want to retire. What's the point of it?
I sort of vaguely knew Patrick Macnee, and he looked kindly on me and sort of husbanded me through the first couple of episodes. After that we became equal, and loved each other and sparked off each other. And we'd then improvise, write our own lines. They trusted us. Particularly our scenes when we were finding a dead body-I mean, another dead body. How do you get 'round that one? They allowed us to do it.
I stepped into Honor Blackman's shoes; Honor was what the first. I played her part, but the irony, the real irony is, that The Avengers (1961) started out as two men; it was Patrick Macnee and another actor, and the actor dropped away at the very last minute and they put Honor in and they didn't change the script, so, she was doing all those things that men do and these gentlemen (who are no longer with us) couldn't believe their luck, because suddenly they had female icons and they were going, 'How did it happen?' We didn't have a choice, but that's really, so I can take no credit; at all, but all I can say is, thank you very much, because it was a wonderful part and Patrick was adorable to work with and I think it came through that we really did love each other, no sex, but we loved each other. I think I got mutual respect, and we did get that.
[Of Patrick Macnee]: Well, particularly, Patrick was very kind and that mattered that we clicked... we got on. We had the same sense of humor and he was instrumental in my easing myself into that part and very quickly feeding at home in it, cause Pat and I would write our own lines; they were very kind letters, so improvised and stuff, just to keep it fresh.
[on On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)] They wanted an experienced lady with a certain degree of glamour to help along a totally inexperienced actor. Fine. It was much like being a coach. And it was well-paid. £50,000. Can't complain.
[on George Lazenby's decision to only do one Bond film] The role made Sean Connery a millionaire. It made Sean Connery...I truly don't know what's happening in George's mind so I can only speak of my reaction. I think it's a pretty foolish move. I think if he can bear to do an apprenticeship, which everybody in this business has to do - has to do - then he should do it quietly and with humility. Everybody has to do it. There are few instant successes in the film business. And the instant successes one usually associates with somebody who is willing to learn anyway.

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