Diana Rigg never watched Game of Thrones despite her Emmy nominated role in the series

Iconic actor played Olenna Tyrell in the HBO series in one of her last roles

Annabel Nugent
Saturday 12 September 2020 12:32 BST
Diana Rigg death: James Bond and Game of Thrones star dies aged 82
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Diana Rigg, star of The Avengers, the James Bond series and Game of Thrones, died aged 82 on Friday (11 September).

In one of her last acting roles, Rigg famously portrayed Olenna Tyrell in HBO’s Game of Thrones, entering the series in its third season in 2013.

Her performance as Queen Margaery Tyrell’s grandmother earned the actor Emmy nominations in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Despite the acclaimed role, Rigg admitted last year that she had never watched the fantasy series “before or since” she appeared in it.

Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell

Accepting a special award at the Canneseries TV festival, Rigg revealed, “Just like The Avengers, I wasn’t watching Game of Thrones and had absolutely no idea of its influence in the world.”

The feted actor also opened up about Olenna’s famous death scene at the end of the last season in which the proud matriarch poisons herself, calling it “just wonderful”.

“She does it with dignity and wit, and wit is not often in final death scenes,” said Rigg.

James Bond star Diana Rigg, who has died at the age of 82, at Cannes Film Festival in 2019

She spoke fondly of the beloved character, stating that, “There are some actors who don’t like to play bad. They like to be liked. I love to be disliked. Olenna had the best lines. They were very kind with their scripts.”

The actor also recalled her audition process for the role.

She added, “It went on forever, talking about the sheep and the cows and the soldiers. I read that and thought, ‘These guys are testing an old actress to see if she can get it into her head.'

“I thought, ‘I’m going to do it one take.’ And I did.”

Among her famous roles, Rigg also played Bond girl Countess Teresa di Vicenzo in the sixth 007 film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. She also appeared in the iconic Sixties series The Avengers as Emma Peel.

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Rigg won many awards throughout her career. In 1990, she received a Bafta for the role of an obsessive mother in the BBC drama Mother Love. She also won a Tony in 1994 for best actress in Medea.

In addition to her more recent Game of Thrones nod, the actor won an Emmy for her role as Mrs Danvers in a TV adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca in 1997.

Rigg was made a CBE in 1988 and a Dame in 1994 for services to drama.

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