I just learned that Diana Rigg passed. Rest in Peace, Diana Rigg.
Diana Rigg was probably my first childhood celebrity crush. I likely first loved Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins the way tots love their nannies, but I had my first boyhood heart flutterings for Diana Rigg in “The Avengers”.
That she and my mom could have been mistaken for sisters in those days probably contributed to my affections. But my mom didn’t wear leather cat suits and execute karate chops. Paging Doctor Freud.
I loved watching Diana Rigg and Patrick Magee in “The Avengers”. I avidly followed their wacky 1960s spy spoof adventures on German TV, where the show was called “Mit Schirm, Charme und Melone”, which has a fun ring in German, but translates literally rather awkwardly to “With Umbrella, Charm and Bowler Hat”.
Rigg was arguably the best Bond Girl in the most maligned Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. I saw it in a rerun theater when I was 12 and was stunned when she – spoiler alerts – marries Bond; and then was abjectly bummed out at her shocking death right before the end credits.
Avengers and Bond may be her most lasting claims to fame, but she has had a grand career on stage and screen. Her Medea on Broadway remains my favorite production of the Greek tragedy. And her formidable presence in “Game of Thrones” sublimely bookends her legend.
To console myself at her loss I will play – multiple times today, surely – another one of my Happy Songs for Dark Times, the Theme Song for The Avengers by the Laurie Johnson Orchestra, another one of those great 1960s big band grooves. It’s not quite as giddy as the Miss Marple Theme, another 1960s franchise theme that still unfailingly makes me happy (fond childhood memories obviously being a factor – those 1960s theme greats were ubiquitous growing up in 1970’s Germany), but boy is it suave, sexy and good fun, just like Diana Rigg and Patrick Magee in The Avengers.