(July 20, 1938– September 10, 2020; birth name: Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg): Sexy, athletic British actress who jumped from the hit British spy series The Avengers (51 episodes, 1965–1968) to the role of Tracy di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Unlike her Bond-girl predecessors, Tracy has a serious love affair with 007 (George Lazenby). And, to the astonishment of his fans, the secret agent eventually proposes marriage to her. In the film’s conclusion, Bond and Tracy are married, but she is soon machine-gunned by Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat), shooting from a car driven by Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas).
For this crucial role, the producers decided for the first time that they should go with an established actress, someone who could work well with the fledgling Lazenby (an ex-model turned actor) and increase the power of the film’s romantic scenes. Rigg fulfilled that requirement nicely. Not only did she look the part (three seasons on The Avengers had kept her in excellent shape), but she was a first-rate actress who rose to the occasion of playing the future Mrs. James Bond. Her much-publicized feud with Lazenby during the filming was more the product of tabloid imaginings than hard fact. See also “garlic incident, the.”
Rigg’s best scenes include her arrival in Mürren to rescue 007, who is being hunted down by Blofeld’s SPECTRE goons. Skating up to Bond at the rink, she falls into his arms, senses the danger that surrounds him, and then offers to help him escape in her red Mercury Cougar. Her driving ability and, later, her prowess on skis make her the consummate 007 mate. She even gets a chance to show off some of her hand-to-hand combat skills during a fight with Grunther (Yuri Borienko) at Blofeld’s mountain fortress of Piz Gloria.
A native of Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, Rigg made her motion picture debut as Helena in director Peter Hall’s production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1968), which also featured future M Judi Dench. More recently, Rigg won a new legion of fans for her portrayal of proud Olenna Tyrell on HBO’s mammothly successful series Game of Thrones (18 episodes, 2013–2017).