I was a good three or four seasons into "Game of Thrones" before I realized who the actress was who played Olenna, the head of House Tyrell and the wise, savvy chess master who was two steps ahead of everyone else and quitely manipulating all the other characters without them realizing it.
Her name on the credits hadn't registered with me and I didn't know she was Diana Rigg. One of the truly legendary rockets of her generation. From her IMDB page:
Her film roles include Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968); Lady Holiday in The Great Muppet Caper (1981); and Arlene Marshall in Evil Under the Sun (1982). She won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the BBC miniseries Mother Love (1989), and an Emmy Award for her role as Mrs. Danvers in the adaptation of Rebecca (1997). In 2013, she appeared with her daughter Rachael Stirling on the BBC series Doctor Who (2005) in an episode titled "The Crimson Horror" and plays Olenna Tyrell on the HBO series Game of Thrones (2011).
From 1965 to 1968, Rigg appeared on the British television series The Avengers (1961) playing the secret agent Mrs. Emma Peel. She became a Bond girl in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), playing Tracy Bond, James Bond's only wife, opposite George Lazenby.
Her early TV and movie career predates me. I remember seeing a rerun of "The Avengers" when I was a kid and had no idea what its appeal was or why anyone would've watched it. Then I came across another one as an adult and understood in a second. I know to a moral certainty that if I was say, from the Korean War generation, Diana Rigg would've been right in my wheelhouse. My Game 1, top of the rotation starter. My Ace:
Credit where credit is due: It takes a rare combination of talent, grit, hustle and determination to stay in show business as long as she did. To go from one of the world's great sex symbols to playing a pivotal role in one of the most landmark series in the history of television five decades later is a remarkable accomplishment in a world where actors have such short shelf lives.
So RIP to one of the greats. Let's never forget Diana Rigg's early days. But remember her for one of the great death scenes in the history of fictional characters.
We should live like Diana did. And die as well as Olenna did. Valar Morghulis.