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'My beloved mama': Diana Rigg's daughter pays tribute to her 'beautiful and brilliant' mother

Dame Diana Rigg’s daughter has paid tribute to her ‘beautiful and brilliant’ mother with a moving photo after the star of Game of Thrones and The Avengers died from cancer aged 82.

Tributes poured for the acclaimed actress after she died, following a short battle with cancer, on Thursday morning.

Last night her daughter, actress Rachael Stirling shared a moving tribute to her mother.

Sharing a picture of the mother and daughter in their younger years, Ms Stirling, 43, wrote: ‘My Beloved Beautiful Brave and Brilliant Mama. Missing you already. X’

The picture showed Rigg smiling on a beach as she cupped her daughter’s face in her hands. 

Followers offered their condolences, as one wrote: ‘Please accept my heartfelt condolences at this most difficult hour (Diana forever).’

Another added: ‘You two beautiful, inspirational, amazing women. Masses of love and strength to you and your family dear Rachael’

Actress Rachael Stirling, 43, shared a moving picture of her and her mother Diana Rigg, paying tribute to her 'Beloved Beautiful Brave and Brilliant Mama'

Actress Rachael Stirling, 43, shared a moving picture of her and her mother Diana Rigg, paying tribute to her ‘Beloved Beautiful Brave and Brilliant Mama’

Diana Rigg as the cutthroat matriarch Oleanna Tyrell in HBO's worldwide hit series, Game of Thrones, a show she admitted in 2019 that she had never watched

Diana Rigg as the cutthroat matriarch Oleanna Tyrell in HBO’s worldwide hit series, Game of Thrones, a show she admitted in 2019 that she had never watched

The actors worked together on 2014 series The Detectorists, playing a mother and daughter in the BBC comedy.

Tributes from acting world have poured in for Rigg, who made her name in the cult 1961 TV series The Avengers, before going on to star as the cutthroat matriarch Lady Olenna Tyrell in HBO’s Game of Thrones, a show she later admitted she had never watched.

Confirming her death, her agent said that Rigg had died ‘peacefully’ on Thursday morning, adding that she had been ‘at home with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time’.

Starting out as a classically trained actress in the Royal Shakespeare Company, Dame Diana’s engrossing stage performances were said to come from her ‘funny and feisty’ personality.

Rigg became the second Bond girl to marry 007 when she starred in James Bond 's On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969

Rigg became the second Bond girl to marry 007 when she starred in James Bond ‘s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969

Rigg starring alongside co-star Patrick Mcnee in the original TV hit series, The Avengers in 1966

Rigg starring alongside co-star Patrick Mcnee in the original TV hit series, The Avengers in 1966

Jonathan Kent, who directed Rigg in a production of Medea said that her ‘combination of force of personality, beauty, courage and sheer emotional power, made her a great classical actress – one of an astonishing generation of British stage performers’.

More recently, Rigg appeared as Queen Victoria’s Mistress of the Robes – The Duchess of Buccleuch – in ITV’s Victoria alongside Jenna Coleman, and as the eccentric Mrs Pumphrey in the adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small – which aired last night on Channel 5. 

The star, who won Bafta, Emmy and Tony awards, also earned worldwide acclaim for her turn as a Bond girl Tracy di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969, where she became only the second Bond girl to marry 007. 

Rigg at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards in New York in June 2018

Rigg receiving the Icon Award at the Cannes International Series Festival in 2019

Rigg at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards in New York in June 2018 (left) and receiving the Icon Award at the Cannes International Series Festival in 2019

Her daughter, Tipping the Velvet actress Rachael Stirling (pictured together in 2014), said she died of cancer that had been diagnosed in March this year

Her daughter, Tipping the Velvet actress Rachael Stirling (pictured together in 2014), said she died of cancer that had been diagnosed in March this year

In a heartfelt Instagram tribute, her co star George Lazenby wrote: ‘I’m so sad to hear of the death of Diana Rigg. She undoubtedly raised my acting game.

The generous tribute comes despite long-held rumours that the pair feuded on set, including over a fake report that Rigg deliberately ate garlic before filming their love scenes in order to throw him off.

While Lazenby slapped down the claim a decade after filming, it is believed he might have actually fuelled the rumours in the first place, with Rigg condemning stories he had spread about her in the Daily Sketch in 1970.

The Yorkshire lass who went on to become a star of the silver screen and James Bond’s first wife

Dame Diana shot to fame as Emma Peel in Sixties TV series The Avengers and then as a Bond girl.

But she also notched up many Shakespearean roles and enjoyed a long career, appearing recently as powerful matriarch Olenna Tyrell in Game Of Thrones.

Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg was born in Doncaster on July 20, 1938.

She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1959.

The actress quickly made her mark there with important roles in productions of The Taming Of The Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and King Lear.

After that, she was hugely successful in her role as Emma Peel, the secret service agent in The Avengers, co-starring Patrick Macnee.

But Dame Diana was unhappy about the intrusion into privacy that came with being on TV, and she was also critical of the way she was treated by TV bosses.

She also discovered that she was being paid less than a cameraman.

‘It was very, very intrusive in those days, because I was instantly recognisable,’ the actress later told Variety.

‘I was grateful to be a success, but there was a price to pay.’

In 1969, she played Bond girl Tracy in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, opposite Bond actor George Lazenby, with whom she had a difficult relationship.

It was in the 1970s that she joined the National Theatre, where she played major roles in Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers, The Misanthrope, Pygmalion, Antony And Cleopatra and Stephen Sondheim’s Follies.

In a nude scene she played in Abelard And Heloise, she was described by one critic as being ‘built like a brick mausoleum with insufficient flying buttresses’.

As a result, she produced a book of the worst-ever theatrical reviews, entitled No Turn Unstoned. It was a best-seller.  

‘I’m tired of reading those paranoid statements to the press wherein you were solely surrounded by hostile people,’ she wrote. ‘I agree that by the end of the film most of the crew were hostile, but only because of your extreme behaviour.

‘No, George, I did not eat garlic on purpose. No, George, I was not, as you said, guzzling champagne in some warm bar when we had the row.’

Last year, Rigg, who was made a dame in 1994 for services to drama, revealed that she ‘suffered a Me Too moment’ early in her career at the hands of a ‘powerful’ film director.

Speaking on Newsnight last year, the actress said she welcomed the rise of the #MeToo movement following her own experience as a young actress and revealed she felt like a ‘lone voice’ after she discovered she was being paid less than her male co-stars.

Dame Diana, who had a long career both in film and on stage, died peacefully at home with her family, her agent confirmed.  

Her former co stars have flooded social media with tributes to the ‘Flinty, fearless, fabulous force of nature’, who had a ‘dazzling wit and inimitable voice.’ 

‘The death of Contessa Teresa di Vincenzo Draco created a memorable cinema moment over 50 years ago. As my new bride, Tracy Bond, I wept for her loss. Now, upon hearing of Dame Diana’s death, I weep again.’

Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg was born in Doncaster on July 20, 1938.

She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1959.

She has been remembered as an actress who ‘swept all before her’. 

Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli remembered Dame Diana for playing the only woman to have married 007.

They said: ‘We are very sad to hear of the passing of Dame Diana Rigg, the legendary stage and screen actress who was much beloved by Bond fans for her memorable performance as Tracy di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the only woman to have married James Bond.

‘Our love and thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.’

Game Of Thrones also paid tribute to on the show’s official Twitter account after her death.

It said: ‘Be a dragon. The realm will always remember Diana Rigg.’

The actress’s agent Simon Beresford said: ‘It is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Dame Diana Rigg died peacefully early this morning.

‘She was at home with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time. Dame Diana was an icon of theatre, film, and television.

‘She was the recipient of Bafta, Emmy, Tony and Evening Standard Awards for her work on stage and screen.

‘Dame Diana was a much loved and admired member of her profession, a force of nature who loved her work and her fellow actors. She will be greatly missed.’ 

Dame Diana was married to the Israeli painter Menachem Gueffen from 1973 to 1976, and was later married to Archibald Stirling, a theatrical producer and former officer in the Scots Guards. 

Dame Diana Rigg as Mrs Pumphrey, with Tricki Woo in the recent adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small, from James Herriot’s collection of stories about life as a Yorkshire vet

Dame Diana Rigg as Mrs Pumphrey, with Tricki Woo in the recent adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small, from James Herriot’s collection of stories about life as a Yorkshire vet

Dame Diana was married to the Israeli painter Menachem Gueffen from 1973 to 1976lived for eight years with director Philip Saville

After eight years living with married director Philip Saville, Dame Diana wed the Israeli painter Menachem Gueffen in 1973, but the couple divorced in 1976

She had a daughter by Stirling, the actress Rachael Stirling who shot to fame in Tipping the Velvet.

Rigg and Mr Stirling divorced in 1990 after his affair with actress Joely Richardson. 

She also played the Duchess of Buccleuch in ITV royal drama Victoria, the young queen’s mistress of the robes, who is ‘renowned for speaking her mind’.

In 2015, Dame Diana told Radio Times: ‘A black Bond would be lovely. I wouldn’t like to see a female Bond, because we wouldn’t want to lose the Bond girls. But we could have a lesbian Bond, why not?’ 

In 2015, George Lazenby addressed the rumour that Rigg, ‘would eat garlic before their love scenes’, after she wrote an open letter to the Daily Sketch in 1970 about working with him. 

Rigg and her co star George Lazenby in the 1969 James Bond movie, On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Rigg and her co star George Lazenby in the 1969 James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

As Mrs Peel in 'A Touch of Brimstone', the 21st episode of the fourth series of the 1960s cult British spy-fi television series The Avengers, Rigg donned a risqué "Queen of Sin" costume - which she designed herself

As Mrs Peel in ‘A Touch of Brimstone’, the 21st episode of the fourth series of the 1960s cult British spy-fi television series The Avengers, Rigg donned a risqué ‘Queen of Sin’ costume – which she designed herself

He said in an interview with the Daily Mail: ‘Not true. We were in the canteen once before a love scene and she stood up and said out loud, ‘I’ve ordered something with garlic in it – I hope you have too!’ just as a joke, but it got made into something bigger.’ 

Writing on Instagram today, Lazenby wrote: ‘I’m so sad to hear of the death of Diana Rigg. She undoubtedly raised my acting game when we made On Her Majesty’s Secret Service together in 1968-9. 

‘I remember the press conference at the Dorchester in London, knowing she was going to play my wife. We had fun together on the set of the movie in Switzerland and Portugal. 

‘Her depth of experience really helped me. We were good friends on set. 

‘I was sorry to have lost my wife in the film at the end. The death of Contessa Teresa di Vincenzo Draco created a memorable cinema moment over 50 years ago. As my new bride, Tracy Bond, I wept for her loss. Now, upon hearing of Dame Diana’s death, I weep again. My deepest condolences for her family. Love George xx’ 

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