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Yesterday, the world learned of Dame Diana Rigg’s passing at the age of 82, after a well lived life full of iconic performances in TV and film. While most audiences either remembered her as Emma Peel from the British spy show The Avengers, or as the forceful Olenna Tyrell from HBO’s Game of Thrones, there are others who remember her as the ultimate Bond Woman that got away.
One such person is the man who played her James Bond, actor George Lazenby, in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; and today he remember Diana Rigg fondly as he paid tribute to her on social media. Read his touching memorial, below:
Playing Contessa Teresa “Tracy” di Vincenzo Draco, Diana Rigg’s character would eventually become Tracy Bond by the end of George Lazenby’s only performance in the James Bond series’ lead. With their relationship being reported as a bit adversarial on set, much like their characters in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the former 007 has cleared the air around that particular story in his Instagram post above.
In fact, George Lazenby’s reaction to Dame Diana’s passing is all the more touching when you consider the context between this real life passing and the end of On. Her Majesty’s Secret Service. At the end of the film, when James and Tracy are off on their honeymoon, his supposedly dead nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas) and his partner in crime Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat) execute a drive-by shooting on the happy couple. While Bond survives, Tracy does not, leading to possibly the most heartbreaking moment in Bond history. Lazenby invoked that memory in his own remembrance, with the following sentiment:
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.
Of course, Tracy’s death wasn’t the only contribution that Dame Diana Rigg’s character made on the Bond films. As the, so far, only woman to marry James Bond, theirs was a romance that made On Her Majesty’s Secret Service stand out as the first time James had really fallen for someone as deeply as he cared for the Contessa. Through playful banter, and their ultimate courtship, Tracy saved James just as much as he saved her. Much like fellow Avengers alum turned former Bond woman Honor Blackman, Dame Rigg gave the series the feisty and bold female energy it has always needed to thrive.
The flood of remembrance from both George Lazenby’s kind words, James Bond franchise producers/masterminds Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli had their own fond memories of Dame Diana Rigg’s part in making James Bond history. Their remarks are included below:
The passing of Dame Diana Rigg has inspired many tributes to her storied career as an actor of great esteem. With the words of not only George Lazenby, but also Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli paying tribute to her work in the James Bond franchise, Dame Rigg’s legacy is even more reinforced in the world of entertainment. On behalf of CinemaBlend, our continued condolences go out to Dame Diana Rigg's family.