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Diana Rigg, RIP
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Without knowing it, I first met Dame Diana Rigg on the afternoon of 23 June 2016, United Kingdom European Union membership referendum day. The day after, I described our meeting thus:

Later that afternoon another lady, who seemed vaguely familiar, came to sit next to me and rest a while and we got chatting. We must have spent 20 minutes covering English history, literature and culture till I finally told her she ought to go in and cast her vote. When she had done so she came out, handed me her card, flashed me a smile and said “I voted Communist”.

After 43 years the United Kingdom left the European Union and the Prime Minister tendered his resignation.

Dear Dame Diana Rigg, I am so very sorry I could not put a name to you until today, but I was in love with you in The Avengers, and next time you vote please come and sit with me again.

In fact, my next meeting with her was also unplanned, in the crockery section of Peter Jones department store, where we talked about the art of accosting women, and whether the presence of so many fragile ceramic pieces would inhibit the development of a passionate affair. My proposals were met with considerable mischief on her part.

Sir Tom Stoppard said of her: “For half her life Diana was the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what used to be called a trooper. She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone. Her talent was luminous”.

She was more than a trooper, she was a star.

• Category: Culture/Society 
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  1. God bless that lovely woman.

  2. There were two programs that I watched in the 1960s just to see the actress: Diana Rigg in The Avengers and Marlo Thomas in That Girl.

    • Replies: @Orville H. Larson
  3. dearieme says:

    We saw her just the other day in the new James Herriot vet series on the telly.

    She played the owner of Tricki Woo, sufferer from flop-bott.

    How could anyone type that without grinning?

  4. Franz says:

    Great lady. Fine legacy.

    She seemed great is all she did, but from The Avengers to Game of Thrones she was also a fine, fine scene-stealer. I say this as a compliment. Some scenes need stealing. Never cared for the rest of GoT but her last scene was terrific, full of sass, wry, and kiss-my-bum bravado.

    To see her in a really excellent part, way back in the 70s she plays a hard businesswoman who suddenly got the call and became a nun for In This House of Brede. A very unusual picture, a look at religious life from a character point of view with no sappy residue. Rigg plays off the younger nun, Judi Bowker, with great realism: The tough older bird and the impressionable newbie. Very unusual with surprising depth.

    But whatever, so long Diana.

  5. Anon[367] • Disclaimer says:

    R.I.P. Diana. I remember this beauty, from my teenage days and how myself and all of my friends had, as they said in those days, “the hots” for her. She was a dynamic and beautiful actress….

  6. TG says:

    You actually met her I’m jealous!

    Of course she was incredibly hot when she was younger – but her performance as Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones showed that she was one of those actresses with the depth and presence that she could still blow you away even at an older age. As you say, a star.

  7. SOL says:

    The glamour and grace of Anglosphere TV is dying off.

  8. Lace says:

    I saw her in Medea on Broadway in the 90s. Stunning. Hers was an interesting career to follow, altbough I didn’t follow it that closely–just meaning I started off with The Avengers and saw her in a sentimental TV movie with Angela Lansbury as a plain old thing, maybe even a Mrs. ‘arris’, anyway the fashion world in Paris. So through the years I had no idea she was going to reach such heights as Medea, which was a stupendous production by the way. I don’t know if she did it in London.

  9. I remember her for “The Hospital” (1971) with George C. Scott.

    Scott’s character believed himself to be impotent. Diana Rigg’s character cured him.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  10. @David In TN

    Scott’s character believed himself to be impotent. Diana Rigg’s character cured him.

    Patton, impotent? As the British say, “Go on, pull the other one!”

    • Replies: @Badger Down
  11. @SOL

    You misspelled “Western civilization”.

    Also – all of you – stop ogling my girl.

  12. Stoppard meant “trouper,” a word even more apropos for an actor. It’s one of those homophone thingies. As for Rigg, her attractiveness was greater than her beauty, which itself was considerable.

  13. Gunga Din says:

    l loved Miss Rigg from when The Avengers first appeared in the U.S. in the 60s. What a babe! Today, in the local paper, was her obit with a pic from her Avengers days. They also had one taken from her Game of Thrones recent role. I wanted to cry.

  14. Truth says:
    @Bard of Bumperstickers

    Interviewer: “So Mr. Ghandi, how do you feel about Western Civilization?”

    Ghandi: “I’m in favor of it.”

    • Replies: @RickinJax
  15. I like how she voted Communist. I bet she wasn’t lying.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  16. dearieme says:

    I bet she wasn’t lying.

    She was joking – it was a referendum.

  17. anon[147] • Disclaimer says:

    He must have wasted his time getting that law degree from Oxford in that case.

    I felt Diana Rigg was the best thing about the Bond film.

    She actually defended George Lazenby and in retrospect he wasn’t as bad a Bond as has been said-he wasn’t as virile or dangerous as Connery, he did not personify British stiff upper lipped style like Roger, he didn’t have the sneaky charm and good looks of Pierce but he was not as butt-ugly as Craig or as bland as Dalton.

    • Replies: @Anon
  18. [US Theater] critic John Simon… said of her in Abelard and Heloise[1971], ‘Diana Rigg is built like a brick mausoleum with insufficient flying buttresses’,

    That doesn’t even make sense (“mausoleum” doesn’t work as a substitute foe “sh!thouse”), but anyway it mainly makes you wonder what was wrong with John Simon. Dunno for sure when TV Guide ran this poll (1999?), and I don’t vouch for the other spots, but it has #1 about right:

  19. bro3886 says:

    Her character in the Avengers started all the ridiculous nonsense of fighting women in the movies and on TV.

    • Agree: Supply and Demand
    • Replies: @Supply and Demand
    , @Taysse
  20. @bro3886

    The cutting edge of the demoralization effort. If only the rest of the boomers could wipe the dust off their nostalgia glasses.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
  21. @Bard of Bumperstickers

    Also – all of you – stop ogling my girl.

    No way, dude — she’s MINE!

    Ogle away, though. She was one supremely ogle-able woman.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  22. Sir Tom Stoppard said of her: “For half her life Diana was the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what used to be called a trooper.”

    She was more than a trooper, she was a star.

    Sorry, Mr Thompson. Sir Tom may have the spelling wrong, but he’s got the direction right. She was more than a star (which are a shilling-a-dozen), she was a trouper. She looked out for the troupe.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  23. @Reg Cæsar

    Agreed. It was misspelled in the newspaper, and I followed the mistake without understanding my grievous error. The troupe of actors, not the troop of military persons.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  24. Anon[191] • Disclaimer says:

    “but he was not as butt-ugly as Craig”

    You spend too much time looking at men’s butts.

  25. RickinJax says:

    I believe the actual quote is:
    “I think it would be a good idea”

    • Replies: @Truth
  26. @James Thompson

    Homophonic errors are the bane of smart people. The less-educated person’s vocabulary is often missing one of the words. In a way, though, trooper may work better when transferred to the troops.

    However, your grievous error was not in spelling, but in assuming a “star” is more special, more of a compliment, than a good egg. No way!

  27. Truth says:

    You’re right, that was actually John McKay’s version.

    “Coach McKay, how do you feel about the execution of your offense…”

  28. My first boyhood crush, Mrs. Peele!

  29. MBlanc46 says:

    Perhaps because now everything has to have diversity.

  30. Taysse says:

    Speaking of fighting women:

  31. dearieme says:

    O/T: there has floated into my memory the tale of the Russian experiments with silver foxes, breeding them for a personality trait.

    Has anyone pursued comparable experiments breeding for lupine/vulpine/canine/feline IQ?

    Or, perhaps even better, porcine?

  32. @Reactionary Utopian

    “she was one supremely ogle-able woman”

    Intelligent, beautiful. One child. Dysgenics again.

    Director Philip Saville (4 children by 3 women, dysgenics again), who lived with Rigg through her 20s and also had an affair with his beautiful student Pauline Boty – no #MeToo in those days – must have been a charismatic chap.

    Saville was born in east London. His father, Louis – whose own father, Joseph Saffer, had anglicised the family name, appropriately adopting one related to his trade as a master tailor – was a travelling salesman for a clothing company. Philip’s mother, Sadie (nee Tanenberg, and known as Kay), was the supervisor of the women’s fashion department at Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly.

    His first wife, not quite such a stunner, became an extreme feminist before committing suicide in 1982, just at the time when her separated husband’s Boys From The Blackstuff was the talk of TV and media and he was at the height of his fame .,_film_and_radical_theatre

  33. @Diversity Heretic

    I had a crush on Inger Stevens of “The Farmer’s Daughter” (ABC, 1963-66). She went on to appear in a number of movies–“A Guide for the Married Man,” “Hang ‘Em High,” “Five Card Stud,” “Madigan” et al. Sadly, she died in 1970 at age 35.

    • Replies: @Truth
    , @Wielgus
  34. Make believe…

    Not my belief.

    Can’t judge a person, without knowing them personally.

    • Replies: @anonymous as usual
  35. @Daniel Rich

    This is true, you can’t know anything about a person, really, just from their film appearances —–but what the commenters are speaking of is something different — to what extent is a given individual able to display charisma, or beauty, to other people who only know them through, say, pictures on a screen?

    EVERY PERSON WHO COMMENTED HERE ABOUT how wonderful Diana Rigg seemed to be over the years was thinking, somewhere in their heart, of someone in their life – not someone on the screen — who had reminded them of what they imagined Diana Rigg would have been if she had been a real person in their life.

    For example, every time I saw her on screen, I thought, hey , I bet if she had a sister who was not QUITE SO STATUESQUE and not quite so, well, manly in her movements, that sister would be TOTALLY HOT.

    But that is just me.

    There are other issues going on here – apparently her personality came across to people who grew up in England as quintessentially English. I myself, who grew up on Long Island, remember revisiting that blessed island about 20 years after my last visit and thinking, wow, the women here are so amazing, how could I ever have left????? I imagine Diana Riggs had a similar effect on English men who had not seen her in a movie for a decade or two.

    Just saying.

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