Diana Rigg

Last updated on the 26 March 2024 by Evandrus

Diana Rigg headshot

Mini Biography

Born: 20 July 1938, Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. 

Diana Rigg’s interest in the performing arts blossomed during her formative years. She attended the Fulneck Girls School in Pudsey before moving to India with her family due to her father’s job transfer. Living there for several years exposed young Diana to diverse cultures and enriched her appreciation for storytelling.

Upon returning to England at the age of eight, she continued her education at Moravian Ladies’ College in Yorkshire. It was during this time that she discovered her passion for acting through school productions and drama classes.

After completing secondary education, Diana Rigg pursued further training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. This prestigious institution honed her skills and laid the foundation for what would become a stellar career.

In 1959, Rigg began making strides in theater when she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Her performances garnered critical acclaim and earned her recognition as one of Britain’s most promising talents. Notably, it was during this period that she first rose to prominence playing various Shakespearean heroines like Cordelia in “King Lear” and Lady Macbeth.

Diana Rigg achieved international fame with her role as Emma Peel on the hit television series “The Avengers” (1965-1968). As Peel, a stylish secret agent known for both brains and beauty, she captivated audiences worldwide with charm, wit, and physical prowess. This iconic character solidified Rigg’s position as a trailblazing female lead in a male-dominated industry.

Rigg’s success on television opened doors for her in the film industry. She appeared in notable movies such as “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969), where she portrayed James Bond’s wife, Tracy di Vicenzo. Her ability to seamlessly transition between genres showcased her versatility as an actress.

Equally impressive was Rigg’s illustrious stage career. She triumphed in numerous Shakespearean roles, including Juliet, Beatrice, and Cleopatra, earning accolades for her exceptional performances. Later in life, she continued to grace stages worldwide with critically acclaimed appearances in plays like “Medea” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Diana Rigg married twice during her lifetime, to Menachem Gueffen (1973-1976) and Archie Stirling (1982-1990), and had one daughter named Rachael from her second marriage.


Suggested viewing


The Avengers (1961)

The Avengers Diana Rigg poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.3

“The Avengers” is a television series following the adventures of suave secret agent John Steed and his various intelligent and stylish female partners. Together, they investigate crimes, thwart evil organisations, and face a world of espionage and intrigue with wit, charm, and action-packed encounters.

Top cast: Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman, Linda Thorson, Tara King.

The Mrs Bradley Mysteries (1998)

The Mrs Bradley Mysteries poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.7

“The Mrs Bradley Mysteries” is a British crime drama series based on the novels by Gladys Mitchell. Set in the 1920s, it follows the adventures of glamorous detective Adela Bradley as she solves perplexing murder cases with her wit, intelligence, and unorthodox methods while navigating high society and tangled relationships.

Top cast: Diana Rigg, Neil Dudgeon, Peter Davison, John Alderton, David Horovitch, Fiona Gillies, Robert Glenister, Paul McGann.

Rebecca (1997)

Rebecca poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.3

A young woman marries a wealthy widower and moves into his country estate, Manderley. However, she is haunted by the memory of his beautiful first wife, Rebecca, who died mysteriously. The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who was loyal to Rebecca, makes the new Mrs. de Winter’s life miserable.

Top cast: Charles Dance, Emilia Fox, Diana Rigg, Faye Dunaway, Jonathan Cake, Tom Chadbon, Geraldine James, Lucy Cohu.

Similar to

Partners in Crime (1983) poster

Alternative versions

Rebecca (1940) posterRebecca (2020)

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

On Her Majesty's Secret Service poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.7

In the thrilling sixth James Bond adventure, Agent 007 plunges headlong into a dangerous mission to thwart the nefarious plot of Blofeld, who seeks global domination through his mind-controlled “Angels of Death.” As Bond tackles treacherous encounters and uncovers the truth behind Blofeld’s sinister scheme, an unexpected love blossoms with the captivating Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo.

Top cast: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, Gabriele Ferzetti, Ilse Steppat, Angela Scoular, Lois Maxwell, Catherine Schell.

Game of Thrones (2013)

Diana Rigg Game of Thrones poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 9.2

“Game of Thrones” is a sprawling epic fantasy series that follows the power struggles, alliances, and conflicts between noble houses in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos. Filled with political intrigue, warfare, dragons, and supernatural elements, it explores themes of power, honour, family dynamics, and the pursuit of the Iron Throne.

Top cast: Emilia Clarke, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Diana Rigg (S3-7).

Evil Under the Sun (1982)

Evil Under the Sun (1982) poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.0

On a secluded Mediterranean island, renowned detective Hercule Poirot seeks solace amidst the glamorous clientele of a luxurious hotel. However, his retreat is shattered when a murder disrupts the tranquil atmosphere, casting suspicion on every guest. With no apparent motive and alibis galore, Poirot must unravel the web of deceit and uncover the true culprit lurking beneath the sun-kissed façade.

Top cast: Peter Ustinov, James Mason, Sylvia Miles, Roddy McDowell, Maggie Smith, Jane Birkin, Nicholas Clay, Diana Rigg, Denis Quilley.


Full filmography (@Wikipedia)


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