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British actress Diana Rigg poses after receiving the Icon Award during the opening ceremony of the 2nd edition of the Cannes International Series Festival on April 5, 2019 at the Palais des Festival in Cannes, France.

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Diana Rigg, a British actress who became a style icon of the 1960s as a secret agent Emma Peel in the TV series "The Avengers" and later starred in "Game of Thrones", has died. She was 82 years old.

Riggs agent Simon Beresford said she died at her family's home on Thursday morning. Rigg's daughter, Rachael Stirling, said she died of cancer, which was diagnosed in March.

Rigg "spent her last months thinking joyfully about her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and profound pride in her job. I will miss her indescribably," said Stirling.

In "The Avengers" she played Emma Peel, a buddy of the polite secret agent John Steed, played by Patrick Macnee. The couple were an immaculately dressed duo who battled villains and exchanged jokes on a show whose blend of adventure and humor was enduringly influential.

"Why do you think Mrs. Peel was hugged like her?" Anthony Mason of CBS News asked Rigg in 2018.

"Because she was ahead of her time," replied Rigg. "Because she was highly intelligent, capable, funny, sexy and independent."

The British series made Rigg an international sensation.

"Sexy, resourceful and confident – with a deadly knowledge of self-defense – Rigg's character has become an icon for the growing feminist movement," the BBC wrote on Thursday. "Her action girl appeal, coupled with her hoarse voice – the result of a 20-day cigarette habit – also earned her many male admirers."

Diana Rigg in an Emma Peel outfit

Diana Rigg poses as Emma Peel in The Avengers. In this shot, Rigg wears a blue one-piece trouser suit with cut-out hips and an oversized pocket watch and chain. Undated color photo around 1968.

Bettmann via Getty

Rigg also played the James Bond thriller "On Her Majesty & # 39; s Secret Service" in 1967 as the only woman to ever marry Agent 007.

In later life she played Olenna Tyrell in "Game of Thrones".

"I'm thrilled that young people identify with this naughty old bag that I played," she told Mason of her "Game of Thrones" character.

Rigg also played the Duchess of Buccleuch in "Victoria" and starred with her daughter on the British sitcom "Detectorists".

Diana Rigg 1938-2020


Diana Rigg 1938-2020

21 photos

Rigg spent several years in the 1960s as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, combining screen work with an acclaimed stage career in plays such as Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage" and Tom Stoppard's "Jumpers" at the National Theater in London.

Stoppard said Rigg was "the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what people used to call a trouper."

"She went to work for everyone with her sleeves rolled up and a smile. Her talent was brilliant."

Sean Connery and Dame Diana Rigg

Dame Diana Rigg and Sean Connery attend the 1996 Evening Standard Drama Awards with a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel.

Tony Harris / PA Images

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