Rigg memorably played Lady Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones beginning in 2013. She was nominated for an Emmy for guest actress in a drama three times for her performance.
In 2019, Rigg told the BBC, "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."
An accomplished stage actress, Rigg broke into television playing Emma Peel on British espionage series The Avengers, a performance that landed her Emmy nominations in 1967 and 1968. All told, she was nominated for nine primetime Emmy awards, winning one for playing Mrs. Danvers in a TV adaptation of Rebecca in 1997.
Rigg also starred in her own short-lived NBC sitcom, titled Diana, from 1973-74.
In 1990, she won a BAFTA TV award for best actress for her performance in BBC miniseries Mother Love. Rigg was also recognized with a special BAFTA award in 2000 for The Avengers, along with co-stars Honor Blackman, Joanna Lumley, and Linda Thorson.
Born July 20, 1938, in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, Rigg spent her early childhood in India before returning to England for boarding school. She trained as an actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art from 1955-57. From 1959-64, she was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where her notable roles included Cordelia in King Lear and Viola in Twelfth Night. She went on to be a member of the National Theatre Company, playing Lady Macbeth in 1972. She played Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion in 1974, then returned to the play in the role of Mrs. Higgins in 2011.
Rigg was nominated for four Tony awards for her work on Broadway, finally winning for Medea in 1994. Her most recent Broadway performance and final Tony nomination came for playing Mrs. Higgins in the 2018 revival of My Fair Lady.
Her other film credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968), Julius Caesar (1970), A Little Night Music (1977), The Great Muppet Caper (1981), Snow White (1987), A Good Man in Africa (1994), and Heidi (2005).
From 1989-2004, Rigg was the host of PBS' Masterpiece Mystery, then called Mystery! Her TV credits also include Masterpiece's Victoria and guest-starring roles on Extras, where she played herself, and Doctor Who.
Rigg will appear in Masterpiece's All Creatures Great and Small, which premieres January 2021 on PBS.
"I don't want to retire," she told the Guardian in 2014. "I never want to retire. What's the point of it?"