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One Tough Dame - The Life and Career of Diana Rigg

One Tough Dame

The Life and Career of Diana Rigg

By Herbie J Pilato
Foreword by Rupert Macnee
Introduction by Ray Austin
Series: Hollywood Legends Series

Hardcover : 9781496837974, 224 pages, 59 b&w illustrations, September 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-09-16

A detailed biography of the esteemed actress, before, during, and after The Avengers


One Tough Dame: The Life and Career of Diana Rigg offers a sweeping portrait of the revered performer’s life and career. Deemed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1994, Diana Rigg (1938–2020) initially found fame as super sleuth Mrs. Emma Peel in the 1960s BBC/ABC-TV espionage series, The Avengers. A classically trained and multi-award-winning thespian, Rigg is known for her diverse body of work — from her big-screen debut in 1969 as Countess Teresa di Vincenzo, wife of James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, to her Tony Award–winning, leading role in Medea on Broadway, culminating with her Emmy-nominated portrayal as Lady Olenna Tyrell on the heralded small-screen gem, Game of Thrones.

This eclectic volume traces Rigg’s career as a renowned star of television, film, and the stage. The author includes insights from rare, archived interviews, encompassing both video dialogues conducted by the University of Kent and Oxford Union. The meticulously curated archival material is further complemented by equally rare photos, and retrospections drawn from diverse media sources and hitherto unpublished accounts from the people who knew Rigg best, affording readers an unprecedented, all-encompassing glimpse into her private world.

With exclusive commentary from Rupert Macnee (son of Riggs’s Avengers costar and dear friend Patrick Macnee); the show’s stunt coordinator/director Ray Austin; actors Samuel West, Bernie Kopell, Barbara Barrie, Juliet Mills, John Schuck, and Damon Evans; director Bruce Beresford; and documentarian David Naylor, among others, One Tough Dame delivers an in-depth perspective of a beloved, brave, brilliant, and trailblazing actor.


"An actress all too often dismissed as a sixties television sex symbol, Diana Rigg was so much more. A pioneer speaking out for women working in the industry, she was independent and hard-working all of her life. In One Tough Dame, author Herbie J Pilato explores Rigg’s life and diverse career, from performing on stage in Shakespeare’s plays to television in Game of Thrones, and even some surprises along the way."

- Gillian Kelly, author of Robert Taylor: Male Beauty, Masculinity, and Stardom in Hollywood

"A highly readable, well-documented biography of a dedicated artist in full possession of her art. Those who think of Rigg only as Emma Peel in a jumpsuit have a treat in store when they read the full, exhilarating story."

- Bernard F. Dick, author of The Golden Age Musicals of Darryl F. Zanuck: The Gentleman Preferred Blondes