Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg was born on July 20, 1938 in Doncaster, England. She is known for her TV roles as Emma Peel on The Avengers during the 1960s and to modern day audiences as Lady Olenna Tyrell in the HBO series Game of Thrones. She is a BAFTA, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning actress.
Shortly after her birth, Rigg moved to Bikaner, India, where her father was employed as a railway executive. She would remain there until the age of 8, when she was sent to Fulneck School, a boarding school near Pudsey in England. She would later study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art from 1955 to 1957.
She made her professional stage debut as Natasha Abashwilli in the RADA production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle in 1957 and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1959 to 1964. In 1970, she starred as Heloïse in the West End production of Abelard and Heloïse, and she made her Broadway debut when the play transferred to New York in 1971, receiving her first Tony Award nomination that same year. Her Broadway credits also include her Tony-nominated performance as Célimène in the 1975 revival of Molière's The Misanthrope and her Tony-winning performance in the title role of the 1994 revival of Medea.
Rigg has also appeared regularly on the London stage over the past 50 years. Selected London stage credits include Jumpers (1972), the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1974), Night and Day (1978), Follies (1987), Medea (1992/3), Mother Courage and Her Children (1995), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1996/7), Humble Boy (2001), Suddenly Last Summer (2004), Honour (2006), All About My Mother (2007), and the role of Mrs. Higgins in Pygmalion (2011). Over the course of her London stage career, she has received a total of four Olivier Award nominations: for Medea in 1994, for Mother Courage and Her Children in 1996, for Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf? in 1997 and, finally, for Britannicus and Phèdre in 1999.
On screen, Rigg rose to fame as Emma Peel in The Avengers, appearing in a total of 51 episodes from 1965 to 1968. She would go on to star as Helena in the 1968 film adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream and as Tracy in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969. In 1972, she earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance as Barbara Drummond in The Hospital. Other TV and film accolades include a BAFTA TV Award in 1990 for the BBC series Mother Love and an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca in 1997. In total, she has received eight Emmy Award nominations, including two for The Avengers, single nominations for In This House of Brede and Victoria & Albert, and, most recently, three nominations for her role as Lady Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones. She has appeared in 18 episodes from 2013 to 2017. Other notable screen credits include A Little Night Music, Hedda Gabler, The Great Muppet Caper, King Lear, Snow White, The Painted Veil, Doctor Who, and Victoria.
Having already played Eliza Doolittle in 1974, Rigg returned to Lerner and Loewe's classic musical My Fair Lady on March 15, 2018 at Lincoln Center, this time taking on the role of Mrs. Higgins — a role she previously played in the musical's source material, George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, in 2011. She played her final performance in My Fair Lady on September 9, 2018.
Mar 15, 2018 - Jul 7, 2019