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All About Dame Diana Rigg

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The Career of Dame Diana Rigg

Mention the name of Diana Rigg (born July 20, 1938 — died September 10, 2020) to most people and they conjure up a picture of the sexy, leather clad agent, Emma Peel, of the 1960s TV series, The Avengers.

However, there has been so much more to the acting career of one of Britain's most respected and successful actresses.

In addition to her television work, Ms. Rigg has starred in several major movies, but it is in the field of theatre that she has received the accolades and the respect of the acting community and audiences alike.

Here we take a look a one of Britain's finest actresses.


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

— Diana Rigg

dianarigg

2017: Diana Rigg Talks About Her Life and Career

Read All About...Diana Rigg

dianarigg

All You Ever Wanted To Know About Diana Rigg

  • Diana Rigg's height is five feet eight and a half inches.
  • Diana was a guest star in a 2003 episode of the BBC psychological thriller Murder in Mind. She played the character Jill Craig, an apparent suicide victim.
  • In October 2003, Diana won a 35,000 libel case against two British newspapers that had claimed she was 'an embittered woman who was retiring from acting.'
  • Diana has one brother called Hugh. He is four years younger.
  • The actress Elizabeth Shepherd was initially selected to play Steed's new partner following the departure of Honor Blackman in The Avengers. Despite the fact that some filming had already taken place, when the directors saw Diana in Armchair Theatre she was chosen instead.
  • In a BBC radio interview, Diana said that she loved to go trout and salmon fishing in her spare time.
  • Diana received a BAFTA Special Award in 2000 for her role as Emma Peel in The Avengers. It was shared jointly with the three other actresses who starred in the show: Honor Blackman, Linda Thorson and Joanna Lumley.
  • Diana was made Chancellor of Stirling University in October 1998. She is the first woman to hold the post.
  • She won a Tony Award for her performance in the 1994 Broadway production of Medea.
  • She has received two Honorary Degrees, one from Leeds University and one from Stirling University.
  • Diana was made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1987.
  • In the early 1970s, Diana Rigg had her own comedy series called Diana. Only 13 episodes were ever aired.
  • In 1997, Diana received an EMMY for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini Series or Movie for her performance as Mrs Danvers in the ITV production of Rebecca.
  • The name Emma Peel, her character in The Avengers, is a pun on the phrase 'man appeal'.
  • She is the mother of Tripping the Velvet star Rachael Stirling.
  • Diana Rigg became a Dame of the British Empire in 1994 for her outstanding contribution to theatre and film.

Diana Rigg Video Montage

1950s Theatre Roles

YearRolePlay

1957

Natasha Abashwilli

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

1957

Anna Pavlovna-Zvezdintseva

The Fruits of Enlightenment

1958

Vivian

The Passing of the Third Floor Back

1959

Lady

All's Well That Ends Well

1959

Citizen

Othello

1959

Attendant

A Midsummer Night's Dream

1959

Roman Citizen

Coriolanus

1959

Attendant

King Lear

2013: Dame Diana's Appearance in Dr. Who

Diana Rigg on TV

YearRoleTV Show

1961

Violanta

Ondine

1963

Francy Wilde

The Sentimental Agent (A Very Desirable Plot)

1964

Adriana

The Comedy of Errors

1964

Anita Fender

The Hothouse

1965

Bianca

Women Beware Women

1965-7

Emma Peel

The Avengers

1969

Helena

A Midsummer Night's Dream

1970

Liz Jardine

Married Alive

1973

Diana Smythe

Diana

1974

Grace Gracedew

Affairs of the Heart

1975

Philippa Talbot

In This House of Brede

1977

Various Roles

Three Piece Suite

1979

Klytemnestra

The Serpent Son

1980

Eloise de Kestournel

The Marquise

1981

Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler

1982

Rita Allmers

Little Eyolf

1982

Christine Vole

Witness For the Prosecution

1983

Regan

King Lear

1985

Lady Honoria Dedlock

Bleak House

1986

Miss Hardbroom

The Worst Witch

1987

Harriet Vulcan

A Hazard of Hearts

1989

Lydia

Unexplained Laughter

1989

Helena Vesey

Mother Love

1992

Madame Colbert

Mrs. 'arris Goes to Paris

1993

Lady Edith Blackwell

The Road to Avonlea (The Disappearance)

1994

Baroness Frieda von Stangel

Genghis Cohn

1995

Evgenia

Zoya

1995

Mrs. Grose

The Haunting of Helen Walker

1996

Mrs. Golightly

Moll Flanders

1996

Mara

Samson and Delilah

1997

Mrs. Danvers

Rebecca

1998-2000

Adela Bradley

Mrs. Bradley Mysteries

1998

Madame de Bellegarde

The American

2000

Mature Rebeccah

In the Beginning

2001

Baroness Lehzen

Victoria & Albert

2003

Jill Craig

Murder in Mind (Suicide)

2003

Queen Henrietta Maria

Charles II: The Power & the Passion

2013

Lady Olenna Redwyne

Game of Thrones

2013

Winifred Gillyflower

Doctor Who (The Crimson Horror)

2015

Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero

Mayor Pink Panda

2015

You, Me and the Apocalypse

Sutton

2015/2017

The Further Adventures of Professor Branestawm

Lady Pagwell

2017

Victoria

Duchess of Buccleuch

2017

Detectorists

Veronica

2017

A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong

Herself

2019

The Snail and the Whale

Narrator

2020

All Creatures Great and Small

Mrs. Pumphrey

2020

Black Narcissus

Mother Dorothea

Diana Rigg is Emma Peel: The Avengers, 1965-1967

Diana Rigg BAFTA Acceptance

Diana Rigg (along with the other Avengers girls) accepts a BAFTA for the Women of The Avengers in 2000.

1960s Theatre Roles

YearRolePlay

1960

Lady

The Two Gentleman of Verona

1960

Lady

The Merchant of Venice

1960

Wench

The Taming of the Shrew

1960

Andromache

Troilus & Cressida

1960

Lady

The Winter's Tale

1960

Lady

The Duchess of Malfi

1961

Violanta, Second Ondine

Ondine

1961

Phillipa Tricant

The Devils

1961

Gwendolen

Becket

1961

Bianca

The Taming of the Shrew

1962

President de Tourvel

The Art of Seduction

1962

Helena

A Midsummer Night's Dream

1962

Bianca

The Taming of the Shrew

1962

Lady Macduff

Macbeth

1962

Adriana

The Comedy of Errors

1962

Cordelia

King Lear

1963

Nurse Monika Stettler

The Physicists

1963

Helena

A Midsummer Night's Dream

1963/4

Adriana

The Comedy of Errors

1964

Cordelia

King Lear

1966

Viola

Twelfth Night

Diana (1973-74): Diana Rigg's American Sitcom

An episode of Diana Rigg's ill-fated American comedy series can be seen here.

Created along the lines of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the series only lasted 13 episodes before being axed due to poor ratings.

At one point, her former television partner, Patrick Macnee (John Steed) was brought on to the show in an effort to save it. Sadly, even this failed to stop the inevitable.

Unfortunately, the show has not seen the light of day since its first showing, either on TV or DVD.

1975: Diana With Morecambe and Wise

In 1975, Diana appeared on the Christmas Edition of The Morecambe and Wise Show, hamming it up alongside the two legendary comedians.

Here is a clip of a hilarious comedy sketch featuring the three.

1970s & 1980s Theatre Roles

YearRolePlay

1970/1

Heloise

Abelard & Heloise

1972

Dottie Moore

Jumpers

1972

Hippolita

'Tis A Pity She's A Whore

1972/3

Lady Macbeth

Macbeth

1973

Dottie Moore

Jumpers

1973

Celimene

The Misanthrope

1974

Eliza Doolittle

Pygmalion

1975

Celimene

The Misanthrope

1976

Phaedra

Phaedra Britannica

1978

Ilona

The Guardsman

1978

Ruth Carson

Night and Day

1982

Colette

Colette

1983

Hesione Hushabye

Heartbreak House

1985

Rita Allmers

Little Eyolf

1985

Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra

1986

Bess Garrison

Wildfire

1987

Phyllis Stone

Follies

Diana Rigg in Honour (2006)

Diana Rigg and Martin Jarvis talk about their starring roles in the play Honour.

Theatre Roles: 1990s to Date

YearRolePlay

1990

Melissa Gardner

Love Letters

1991

Cleopatra

All For Love

1992

-

Putting It Together

1992

Rosa

Berlin Bertie

1992-1994

Medea

Medea

1995-1996

Anna Fierling

Mother Courage

1996-1997

Martha

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1998

Phaedra

Phaedre

1998

Agrippina

Britannicus

2001

Flora Humble

Humble Boy

2002

Various

The Hollow Crown

2004

Violet Venable

Suddenly, Last Summer

2006

Honor Spencer

Honour

2007

Huma Rojo

All About My Mother

2008

Ranyevskaya

The Cherry Orchard

2009

Judith Bliss

Hay Fever

2011

Mrs. Higgins

Pygmalion

2018

Mrs. Higgins

My Fair Lady

Diana Rigg in The Assassination Bureau

Diana Rigg on Film

YearRoleMovie

1969

Helena

A Midsummer Night's Dream

1969

Sonya Winter

The Assassination Bureau

1969

Tracy di Vincenzo

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

1969

 

Mini Killers/Das Diadem

1970

Portia

Julius Caesar

1971

Barbara Drummond

The Hospital

1973

Edwina Lionheart

Theatre of Blood

1977

Countess Charlotte Mittelheim

A Little Night Music

1981

Lady Holiday

The Great Muppet Caper

1982

Arlena Stuart Marshall

Evil Under the Sun

1987

Evil Queen

Snow White

1994

Judith

Running Delilah

1994

Chloe Fanshawe

Good Man in Africa

1998

Lisa

Parting Shots

2005

Grandmamma

Heidi

2006

Mother Superior

The Painted Veil

2015

The Narrator

The Honourable Rebel

2017

Lady Neville

Breathe

2021

Miss Collins

Last Night in Soho

Diana Rigg: The Bond Girl

As Tracy di Vincenzo in OHMSS

dianarigg

Theatre Of Blood (1973) (R-Rated): Diana Rigg With Vincent Price

Diana Rigg stars alongside Vincent Price, together with some of the cream of British acting talent: Dennis Price, Harry Andrews, Arthur Lowe, Michael Hordern, Ian Hendry, Coral Browne and Robert Morley.

1973's Theatre Of Blood centres around a ham Shakespearean actor who takes bloody revenge on the critics who refused to give him an acting award. Each murder is committed in the style of a death from one of Shakespeare's works.

Diana Rigg At (Almost) 70

In Conversation With Paul O'Grady

Diana Rigg talks to Paul O'Grady on his show of May 2, 2008, two and a half months before her 70th birthday.

The pair speak about several aspects of Dame Diana's career, conducted in O'Grady's always humourous and comic manner, including her time as Emma Peel of The Avengers.

Dame Diana Appears on Loose Women

2016: Diana Rigg in Conversation

Maybe at this stage in my career, it's from that younger generation that I have most to learn

— Diana Rigg

You May Also Be Interested In...

Linda Thorson
Linda Thorson (born 18 June, 1947) came to international attention in 1968, when she won the role of Tara King in the 60s cult classic TV show, The Avengers....

Avengers Girl Emma Peel
Although Honor Blackman's Cathy Gale was the prototype Avengers girl, it was her successor Emma Peel, as portrayed by Diana Rigg...

© 2007 Rich

Are you in the Diana Rigg Fan Club?

Tony Bonura from Tickfaw, Louisiana on October 14, 2012:

Yes, I think of Mrs Peel when I hear Diana Rigg's name. What do you expect from an American? I did know that she was also a "Bond girl" in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

TonyB

grannysage on July 20, 2012:

Diana Rigg was the best Emma Peel. I'm impressed with the volume of work she has done since. I wanted to watch the videos but am on a bandwidth ration so will have to come back later.

grannysage on July 20, 2012:

Diana Rigg was the best Emma Peel. I'm impressed with the volume of work she has done since. I wanted to watch the videos but am on a bandwidth ration so will have to come back later.

dave-sutton on June 23, 2012:

Strange thing is that I found this lens by searching for amateur radio.

As a young man I fell in love with Emma Peel, to my way of thinking the sexiest assistant ever in the avengers. You brought back some erotic memories and that is not good for an old man :0)

jcolt7 on June 17, 2012:

Thank you for the great lens about a fantastic actress!

jcolt7 on June 17, 2012:

An incredible beauty! She makes a great case for immortality.

AgingIntoDisabi on May 23, 2012:

Yes, I'll always remember her for playing Mrs. Peel but she's done so much more.

John Tannahill from Somewhere in England on May 23, 2012:

She's a legend, I love strong beautiful women.

JaneEyre9999 on May 03, 2012:

Yes, yes, yes!

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on February 26, 2012:

She was really special. I made a point of seeing the Avengers every week... so stylish.

anonymous on February 16, 2012:

Oh diana Rigg... whe I was a young boy at the age of ten or so I remember watching the avengers with my mum and dad... and I fell in love with you.. I acctually dreamt of you...

What I wouldn't give to go back 30 years in time and ask you out for dinner ;-)

Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on February 13, 2012:

Diana Rigg was the best (and the only real) Emma Peel!

flycatcherrr on January 26, 2012:

Oh, Mrs. Peel... ... I do wonder if it ever bothered her that she'll be best remembered for the amazing black leather cat suit, when she had such remarkable acting abilities.

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on January 01, 2012:

I remember her! Hope to see some reruns soon:) Thumbs up!

christopherwell on September 19, 2011:

Wow, so much information about Dame Diana! I'd never heard about that sit-com -- I'd love to see it sometime!

JoshK47 on June 28, 2011:

Great lens about a wonderful actress!

Steve-SEO-UK on June 22, 2011:

Apparently she did all or most of the stunt work in The Avengers series. Patrick was a real gentleman to her and was very protective of her when performing stunts. Great Lens and well worth the Thumbs Up.

Lemming13 on March 10, 2011:

Thank you so much for this wonderful tribute to a great actress. Absolutely marvellous.

Ben Reed from Redcar on February 09, 2011:

A wonderful lens. Brings back lots of memories of watching Diana Rigg in the Avengers.

KokoTravel on January 22, 2011:

It would be interesting to know what kind of a real person Diana Rigg is.

Sabre1000 on January 15, 2011:

Diana and Julie Newmar were THE 60s women as far as I am concerned.

anonymous on June 25, 2010:

Bonnie, this is a lovely and awesomely researched tribute to a great actress. I truly loved the Emma Peel character as she personified the person I wanted to grow up to be! Isn't it amazing that all those many years ago, even fully clothed, she could exude such a sexual aura around a strong, independent character. The young ones today who think you need to be naked or nearly to be sexy and need nothing else besides that could take a lesson from this great lady. Thumbs up!

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on June 08, 2010:

This is an amazing lens, I had to come back for another look at one of my all time favourite actresses.

ulla_hennig on March 20, 2010:

Your lens brings back memories of watching every part of the Avenger series on German TV. I also enjoyed listening to the conversation with Michael Parkinson on youtube.

Addy Bell on September 01, 2009:

What a great lens. I got to know Diana Rigg's work from when she hosted _Mystery!_ On PBS. I had no idea she was also a Vaudevillian. Awesome!

WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on June 12, 2009:

Fabulous Lens! 5*Fav What a Wonderful Tribute to "Diana Rigg". This lens brings back fond memories. I really enjoyed her as "Miss Peel" in the Avengers. :)

sdheeren on June 05, 2009:

You did some nice work researching this great actress. It defiantly does her justice. I especially like the birthday counter. Nice unique touch.

KimGiancaterino on May 18, 2009:

Diana Rigg is great! I know I blessed this one last year... I'm re-blessing and featuring it on my Squid Angel Diary this week.

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on March 01, 2009:

Great SquidWho. I remember her on The Avengers. That was a few yrs ago

AlisonMeacham on February 19, 2009:

What an amazingly well researched lens. Angel Blessings to you

Rich (author) from Surrey, United Kingdom on February 16, 2009:

[in reply to sissy brett who was diana riggs father ?????]

Diana's father was Louis Rigg - a railway engineer in India, where he was employed during her formative years.

anonymous on February 16, 2009:

really loved the Avengers who was diana's father?

Oosquid on December 24, 2008:

Diana was, I think, the best Avenger lady and is superb in anything she appears in.

Aika on December 17, 2008:

Well done lens. It seems you're a great fan of her. :)

Andy-Po on December 03, 2008:

Excellent lens. I particularly remember her from The Avengers of course, but thank you for reminding me of some of her other roles.

Lou165 from Australia on October 16, 2008:

Fantastic lens, you have got so much information on here,it's a refreshing 5* from me.

anonymous on October 08, 2008:

Comprehensive and very readable!

beachbum_gabby on September 23, 2008:

Great compilation about Diana Rigg, it brings back memories about her works.

blue22d on September 19, 2008:

Thanks for this lens...well done. I had no idea the credits of work behind this individual. Thanks for sharing. Five stars to ya. You might enjoy my lens Ken Festus Curtis Golden Voice.

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on September 12, 2008:

Fantastic as Emma Peel, I also loved her in Theatre Of Blood, a great 70's horror film, and of course in OHMSS. 5***** for a great tribute to one of my favourite actresses.

alicesy on July 30, 2008:

Excellent Lens. I like the quality insight you have provided here about Who Is Diana Rigg. Keep up the good work.

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Tonie Cook from USA on July 21, 2008:

One of my favorites! Well done.

beeobrien lm on July 21, 2008:

Terrific job. I really enjoyed the videos.

Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN, USA on July 20, 2008:

She's amazing! Great lens.

KimGiancaterino on July 20, 2008:

Wonderful lens on a fabulous actress. I'm giving it a Squid Angel Blessing in honor of Diana Rigg's birthday!

JimmiMac on October 22, 2007:

This is a top notch lens!

tplus on October 07, 2007:

Welcome to Get Ratings, Give Ratings! This is a very informative squidwho page you got going here! I didn't even know who Diana Rigg was before I read this! Keep up the good work!

DOUA on September 27, 2007:

Thanks for bringing back some memories and thank you for joining our non-profit group - DOUA.

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