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A Year: Day to Day Men: 20th of July, Solar Year 2018

A World of Blue Tiles

July 20, 1938 was the birthdate of English actress, Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg in Yorkshire, England.

Diana Rigg’s career in film, television and theater has been wide-ranging. Her professional debut was in the production of “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” at the York Festival in 1957. She made her Broadway debut with the play “Abelard and Heloise” in 1971, earning the first of three Tony Award nominations for Best Actress in a Play. She received her second nomination in 1975 for her role in “The Misanthrope”.

In the 1990s, Diana Riggs had triumphs with roles at the Almeida Theater in Islington, England, including “Medea” in 1992, which moved to Broadway where she received the Tony Award for Best Actress, “Mother Courage” at the National Theater in 1995, and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” at the Almeida Theater in 1997. In 2011 Riggs played Mrs. Higgins in “Pygmalion” at the Garrick Theater in the West End of London; in February of 2018 she returned to Broadway in a non-singing role of Mrs. Higgins in “My Fair Lady”.

Diana Rigg appeared in the British 1960s television series “The Avengers” from 1965 to 1968 opposite Patrick McNee as John Steed, playing the secret agent Emma Peel in 51 episodes. Rigg auditioned for the role on a whim, without ever having seen the program. Although she was hugely successful in the series, she disliked the lack of privacy that it brought. Also, she was not comfortable in her position as a sex symbol, She also did not like the way that she was treated by the Associated British Corporation (ABC).

In 2013, Diana Rigg secured a recurring role in the third season of the HBO series “Game of Thrones”, portraying Lady Olenna Tyrell, a witty and sarcastic political mastermind popularly known as the Queen of Thorns, the grandmother of regular character Margaery Tyrell. Her performance was well received by critics and audiences alike, and earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2013.

Diana Rigg reprised her role in season four of “Game of Thrones” and in July 2014 received another Guest Actress Emmy nomination. In 2015 and 2016, she again reprised the role in seasons five and six in an expanded role from the books. The character was finally killed off in the seventh season, with Rigg’s final performance receiving critical acclaim.

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