Born: 20 July 1938
Birthplace: Doncaster, Yorkshire, England
Best known as: Mrs. Emma Peel on TV's The Avengers
Longtime leading lady Dame Diana Rigg is best known for her television roles: as Mrs. Emma Peel in the 1960s swinging British series The Avengers
, and, since 1989, as the elegant host of the PBS series MYSTERY!
. Rigg studied Shakespeare
and was a well-known stage actor when she took the role of Mrs. Peel in 1961. The Avengers
was exported to the United States five years later and she was thrust into the limelight; the karate-chopping, jumpsuited Mrs. Peel came to represent swinging London and Rigg became a '60s fashion icon. Although her film career was secondary to her stage career, moviegoers remember her as the woman James Bond
loved in On Her Majesty's Secret Service
(1969, with George Lazenby
), and as the sympathetic visitor in The Hospital
(1971, with George C. Scott
). Still active on stage and screen, Rigg has won a Tony (1994, for Medea
) and an Emmy (1997 for Rebecca
), and in 1994 she was named a Dame Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II
for her contributions to theater.
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