JAMES BOND actor George Lazenby has paid tribute to his 007 co-star Diana Rigg following the Game of Thrones star’s sad passing at the age of 82.
A veteran of the big and small screen, Rigg was best known for starring roles in The Avengers and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, where she played the wife of 007, Countess Teresa ‘Tracy’ Bond.
More recently, she starred as Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones – a role that earned her critical acclaim and two Emmy nominations.
Rigg passed away at her home, surrounded by family, her daughter confirmed.
Her death came just months after the actress was diagnosed with cancer.
Lazenby starred alongside Rigg in his one and only outing as 007 and spoke fondly of their time together on the film.
The 81-year-old wrote on Instagram: "I'm so sad to hear of the death of Diana Rigg.
"She undoubtedly raised my acting game when we made On Her Majesty's Secret Service together in 1968-9.
"I remember the press conference at the Dorchester in London, knowing she was going to play my wife.
"We had fun together on the set of the movie in Switzerland and Portugal.
"Her depth of experience really helped me.
"We were good friends on set.
"Much was made of our supposed differences but that was the press looking for a news story.
"I was sorry to have lost my wife in the film at the end.
"The death of Contessa Teresa di Vincenzo Draco created a memorable cinema moment over 50 years ago.
"As my new bride, Tracy Bond, I wept for her loss.
"Now, upon hearing of Dame Diana's death, I weep again.
"My deepest condolences for her family."
Lazenby’s sentiments were echoed by James Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.
They said: "We are very sad to hear of the passing of Dame Diana Rigg, the legendary stage and screen actress who was much beloved by Bond fans for her memorable performance as Tracy di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the only woman to have married James Bond.
"Our love and thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time."
Game of Thrones paid tribute with a message posted to its official Twitter account.
"Be a dragon. The realm will always remember Diana Rigg,” it said.
Be a dragon.
The realm will always remember Diana Rigg.
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) September 10, 2020
Several of Rigg’s co-stars on Game of Thrones and from the world of theatre and film also paid tribute to her life and legacy.
John Bradley, who played Samwell Tarly on Game Of Thrones said: "Diana Rigg was just wonderful. But you all knew that already. Everybody did. Very sad news."
The League Of Gentlemen creator and fellow Thrones alumni Mark Gatiss also paid tribute.
He tweeted: "It was my great joy and privilege to have known Diana Rigg.
"From three slightly hysterical months at the Old Vic in All About Mother to writing The Crimson Horror for Diana and her wonderful daughter Rachael.
"Flinty, fearless, fabulous. There will never be another. RIP".
It was my great joy and privilege to have known Diana Rigg. From three slightly hysterical months at the Old Vic in ‘All About Mother’ to writing The Crimson Horror for Diana and her wonderful daughter Rachael. Flinty, fearless, fabulous. There will never be another. RIP pic.twitter.com/2EGc4MVx0S
— Mark Gatiss (@Markgatiss) September 10, 2020
Fellow actress Mia Farrow also paid her respects: "Oh no! She was magnificent!! Gratitude to the great Diana Rigg for so many fearless, fascinating performances. But we wanted more."
Macmillan Cancer Support charity also thanked the actress.
"We are so sad to hear of the death of Dame Diana Rigg,” they said in a statement.
"We want to thank her for her years of enduring support for Macmillan Cancer Support and pass on our condolences to her daughter Rachael and all the family."
Bafta also issued a statement remembering Rigg’s work.
"We're sad to hear of the passing of Dame Diana Rigg, Bafta-winner for her performance in Mother Love in 1990 and joint recipient of the Bafta Television Special Award in 2000 for The Avengers."
What to say about Diana Rigg? I could talk about her incredible career, but for now I'll just say as a lifelong fan, it was beyond a thrill to work with her on her final film. She exceeded all my highest expectations, so blazingly talented, fiery & funny. Miss you already Dame D. pic.twitter.com/3crtUsJhla
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) September 10, 2020
Broadcaster Gyles Brandreth described her as "funny, feisty, beautiful, intelligent & gifted.”
“A whole generation fell for her when we first saw on screen in The Avengers,” he added.
"It's the end of an era - and a special life. A sad day. RIP Dame Diana Rigg."
Director Edgar Wright, meanwhile, wrote: "What to say about Diana Rigg? I could talk about her incredible career, but for now I'll just say as a lifelong fan, it was beyond a thrill to work with her on her final film.
"She exceeded all my highest expectations, so blazingly talented, fiery & funny. Miss you already Dame D."