The Meeting Place

The Days of the Golden Movies 1940 to 1995

Top Movie Stars of the 1960s | Ultimate Movie Rankings

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Great movies of that era, I had a big crush on Peter O'Toole (and still do) in that movie "Lawrence Of Arabia".

 

Hi Hola.

Yes I enjoy some of his movies, not all of them though!

I remember watching Lawrence of Arabia, it was in two parts, I do not remember having an interval for a movie before that.    3.48 hrs was the running time of the movie, seemed so long but was absorbed in the history of it.   

Did you watch 'Becket'  that was full of history.

Becket Poster.jpeg

Also I enjoyed 

The Lion in Winter (1968) - IMDb

I learned a lot of history in that production too.

All about Henry II and his sons, not to mention Katherine who played his queen.

It's Christmas 1183, and King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) is planning to announce his successor to the throne. The jockeying for the crown, though, is complex. Henry has three sons and wants his boy Prince John (Nigel Terry) to take over. Henry's wife, Queen Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn), has other ideas. She believes their son Prince Richard (Anthony Hopkins) should be king. As the family and various schemers gather for the holiday, each tries to make the indecisive king choose their option.

Poor Eleanor she kept on getting locked up in Henry's prison!   

It must have been very cold in those old castles.  However, her sons rallied to her help the best they could!

Her elder son became King Richard the Lionheart and the younger son the bad prince john of Robin Hoods adventures.

They don't make movies like they used to!!

 

 

 

O'Toole at the premiere of Becket with then wife Sian Phillips in 1964.

Credit: Getty Images

 

O'Toole with his children Kate (L) and Lorcan (R) at the Hand and Footprint Ceremony outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 2011. Credit: Getty Images

 

 

                                        Pretty Woman (1990) The 80s & 90s Best Movies Podcast Review

 

Director Reveals: Iconic Jewelry Box Scene From 'Pretty Woman' Was a Practical Joke Intended for the Film's Gag Reel.

Did you know that the iconic scene in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere snaps a jewelry box on Julia Roberts' fingers – was originally staged as a practical joke intended for the film's gag reel?

By     Apr 27, 2012 9:32 pm ET|Updated Apr 28, 2012 4:01 pm ET

Today we reveal an important piece of jewelry trivia from one of the most romantic and memorable scenes in movie history.

Legendary director Garry Marshall dished to ET's Nancy O'Dell on Tuesday that the iconic scene in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere snaps a jewelry box on Julia Roberts' fingers – evoking one of the most spontaneously awkward but endearing laughs ever filmed – was originally staged as a practical joke intended for the film's gag reel.

Many critics agree that this was the very moment the world fell in love with Roberts.

Marshall explained why he and Richard Gere wanted to prank the young actress. According to Marshall, the 23-year-old Roberts would sometimes show up to the set a bit sleepy after a night of partying. "I said, 'Richard, you gotta wake her up a little, so when she reaches for the box, slam it.' It was a soft box. I would never hurt her."

According to Marshall, it wasn't until the last moment of editing that they decided to use the scene. "We put it in… and it became like the trademark of the movie," said Marshall. Pretty Woman launched Roberts' stellar career and the 1990 romantic comedy went on to gross $463.4 million.

According to movie trivia sites, the ruby-and-diamond necklace that Roberts wears in the scene and Gere tells her is worth a quarter million dollars, was genuine and actually did cost that much. While filming, an armed security guard hired by the jewelry store that provided the necklace for the film was constantly standing behind the director.

                                               HD wallpaper: Movie, Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts, Richard Gere | Wallpaper  Flare

 

 

 

 

 

 

                           

 

                                                        These are starting to look old fashioned!  LOL

 

This excellent 1988 film, directed by the legendary Mike Nichols, is as fresh today as it was 30+ years ago. It’s filled with female empowerment, great one-liners, terrific acting and Harrison Ford in a terrific comedy role!

Melanie Griffith was Oscar nominated for Best Actress – and held her own against a great cast including Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Alec Baldwin and Joan Cusack.

 

 

 

 

Pride and Prejudice is set in rural England in the early 19th century, and it follows the Bennet family, which includes five very different sisters. Mrs. Bennet is anxious to see all her daughters married, especially as the modest family estate is to be inherited by William Collins when Mr. Bennet dies. At a ball, the wealthy and newly arrived Charles Bingley takes an immediate interest in the eldest Bennet daughter, the beautiful and shy Jane. The encounter between his friend Darcy and Elizabeth is less cordial. Although Austen shows them intrigued by each other, she reverses the convention of first impressions: pride of rank and fortune and prejudice against the social inferiority of Elizabeth’s family hold Darcy aloof, while Elizabeth is equally fired both by the pride of self-respect and by prejudice against Darcy’s snobbery.

Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier in Pride and PrejudiceGreer Garson and Laurence Olivier in Pride and PrejudiceGreer Garson and Laurence Olivier in Pride and Prejudice (1940), directed by Robert Z. Leonard.© 1940 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

The pompous Collins subsequently arrives, hoping to marry one of the Bennet sisters. Elizabeth, however, refuses his offer of marriage, and he instead becomes engaged to her friend Charlotte Lucas. During this time, Elizabeth encounters the charming George Wickham, a military officer. There is a mutual attraction between the two, and he informs her that Darcy has denied him his inheritance.

After Bingley abruptly departs for London, Elizabeth’s dislike of Darcy increases as she becomes convinced that he is discouraging Bingley’s relationship with Jane. Darcy, however, has grown increasingly fond of Elizabeth, admiring her intelligence and vitality. While visiting the now-married Charlotte, Elizabeth sees Darcy, who professes his love for her and proposes. A surprised Elizabeth refuses his offer, and, when Darcy demands an explanation, she accuses him of breaking up Jane and Bingley. Darcy subsequently writes Elizabeth a letter in which he explains that he separated the couple largely because he did not believe Jane returned Bingley’s affection. He also discloses that Wickham, after squandering his inheritance, tried to marry Darcy’s then 15-year-old sister in an attempt to gain possession of her fortune. With these revelations, Elizabeth begins to see Darcy in a new light.

Shortly thereafter the youngest Bennet sister, Lydia, elopes with Wickham. The news is met with great alarm by Elizabeth, since the scandalous affair—which is unlikely to end in marriage—could ruin the reputation of the other Bennet sisters. When she tells Darcy, he persuades Wickham to marry Lydia, offering him money. Despite Darcy’s attempt to keep his intervention a secret, Elizabeth learns of his actions. At the encouragement of Darcy, Bingley subsequently returns, and he and Jane become engaged. Finally, Darcy proposes again to Elizabeth, who this time accepts.

 

 

Adaptations – Pride and Prejudice 1995 vs 2005FEBRUARY 5, 201227 COMMENTS

One thing about Advent with Austen that I was really looking forward to was watching the 1995 Pride and Prejudice TV series. I had never seen it and had heard some marvellous things… especially about Colin Firth as a certain Mr. Darcy. I also decided to re-watch the 2005 film with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.

Within five minutes, I knew that I was going to love the 1995 version of this much loved book. It is immediately clear that the casting for the Bennet family was chosen brilliantly.  It is almost unbearable to watch the high-pitched, shrieking Alison Steadman, who plays the annoying Mrs. Bennet superbly. Benjamin Whitrow is also fantastic as her quiet and sarcastic husband, forever teasing and making fun of her. The irritating daughter, Lydia is played by Julia Sawalha who is excellent and almost, but not quite as irritating as her mother.

I am slightly disappointed with Jane’s character in this adaptation, Susannah Harker is every bit as calm and collected as in the book, but I simply didn’t feel the same fondness that I felt for her character while reading Pride and Prejudice. In fact, I have to admit that I preferred Rosamund Pike’s Jane in the 2005 film as she had a sense of humour and seemed more realistic.

Finally, we come to the favourite Bennet sister of all; Elizabeth. Jennifer Ehle doesn’t so much act the part of Elizabeth Bennet, as is Elizabeth Bennet. She is pretty, polite and smiley with the same witty and sharp humour as in the book – without being too rude or obnoxious. I much preferred her to the 2005 version of Elizabeth. To me, Keira Knightley  is much too feisty and rebellious.

Elizabeth’s meetings with the proud stranger Mr. Darcy are exactly as I imagined. At first, he is obviously cold and unimpressed, but gradually the audience can see him warm to Elizabeth, and eventually to admire her deeply. I can’t imagine a better Mr. Darcy than Colin Firth. He plays the reserved, proud and cold character so believably and manages to contain all of his emotions in his eyes, with glances at Elizabeth Bennet, showing the internal struggle between his head and his heart. Of course, he also managed to make a whole nation of women fall in love with him!

The 1995 TV series has a lot over the 2005 film, and not just its almost too-good- to-be-true leading couple. With six episodes, all approximately an hour long, there is plenty of time to explore the characters, and show the gradual feelings of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy change over the episodes. In the film, everything has to be much more fast paced and when you add the exciting music and the sweeping romantic scenes; in the rain, or on a windy hill, the pace of the story and the meaning behind it is completely taken away.

The 2005 cast is full of excellent actors, but unfortunately, a lot of them simply can’t live up to the actors from 1995. This could be mostly because there is not enough time for character development. Mr and Mrs. Bennet played by Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn are good but nothing compared to the previous adaptation. However, as I have said before, I prefer Jane in this film. Rosamund Pike portrays the kindness and patience of her character well, but seems happier and quick to laugh, which I found easier to relate to. I also liked Jena Malone as a ruder and nastier Lydia. I don’t necessarily prefer this version of Lydia, but it was nice to see her portrayed in a slightly different way.

Keira Knightley is a great actress but I think that she changes the character of Elizabeth Bennet in this film by putting too much of a feisty attitude into the role – or maybe I’ve seen her one too many times as another Elizabeth in Pirates of the Caribbean. I suppose it may fit in with a modern day take on the book, but as a fan of Pride and Prejudice, I wasn’t happy.

I was also very disappointed with Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy. I found his acting wooden and his haircut far too messy and modern! It is a shame that the two leading characters were such a let down – the chemistry between them was simply not there.

The changes of location for the most important scenes in the 2005 film are also unforgivable in my opinion. I was especially displeased with the proposal scene which took place in the open on a dramatically rainy day rather than in Charlotte’s little cottage. When I compare the two adaptations, Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle’s scene is perfection and brimming with emotion, while Matthew Macfadyen is very unconvincing as a man desperately in love. Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth has a tantrum, shouting her feelings, rather than speaking her thoughts in a much more effective, calm and emotional voice like Jennifer Ehle.

One scene change that I didn’t mind so much, was towards the end when Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy finally give in to each other and admit their true feelings. The 1995 adaptation is true to the book; while on a walk during the day, Mr. Darcy demands a final answer from Elizabeth. It is not the most romantic moment, with Elizabeth talking about her changed feelings in a conversational tone. The 2005 film may be a little over the top but it works well and is much more today’s idea of romance; a chance meeting in a misty field as the sun is coming up, less words spoken and more kissing.

But that’s enough about the leading couple! Now let’s look at some of the other characters. I was glad to find one of the nicest characters, Mr. Bingley was very pleasing in both adaptations. In 1995 he is played by the smiling Crispin Bonham Carter, who is just how I had imagined him to be. The 2005 version of Mr. Bingley is a laughing Simon Woods who also does a brilliant job as a more dipsy character.

Mr. Bingley’s sister is equally horrid in both the 1995 series and the 2005 film. Anna Chancellor from 1995 is by far my favourite though. Her ability to slip snide comments in the conversation and pull disgusted faces throughout is hilarious. Kelly Reilly is also very good in this role in the 2005 film. She is nasty and mean, but doesn’t have quite the same effect as Anna Chancellor.

I was dissappointed with the 2005 Mr. Wickham, not because of the actor Rupert Friend, but because his part was a lot more fleeting than Adrian Lukis’ in 1995. Mr Wickham plays such an important role, both in the story and with his scandalous back-story. He is involved with a lot of characters and changes the course of the plot with his many lies and disgraceful deeds and decisions. I was glad we got to see more of him in the 1995 TV series.

The casting for Mr. Collins was spot on in both adaptations. In 1995, the role was played by David Bamber, a silly and laughable character. Tom Hollander is a more serious version with less smiles, but equally amusing. Mr. Collins is one of the most cringe-worthy characters from all the Jane Austen novels I have read and with both adaptations, I could hardly bear to watch as he embarrassed and offended half the characters!

The last character, but certainly not the least entertaining is Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Barbara Leigh-Hunt does a convincing job in the 1995 TV series, but I don’t think Judi Dench has ever been bettered in any role. In the 2005 film, Judi Dench is absolutley terrifying and I particularly enjoyed her icy words with Elizabeth towards the end. She is certainly a version of Lady Catherine that I would not wish to mess with!

So, which adaptation would I recommend? Well, they both have their good points and bad points. In some ways the 2005 film is superior. The higher budget allows for more elegant costumes and dramatically romantic scenes of windswept fields and pouring rain, but nothing can beat the character development and script of the 1995 TV series. The acting in both adaptations was brilliant, but again the 1995 series wins by having the absolute perfect leading couple.

Click here for more Jane Austen related posts.

 

Dear Diary... I can't believe my boys are 60! Yes, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant both hit the big six-oh this week. So after all those scandals, lovers and millions made, which of them would seduce Bridget Jones today?Hugh Grant and Colin Firth both celebrate their 60th birthdays this weekBoth Hugh and Colin were leading characters in the Bridget Jones movies Claudia Connell imagines how Bridget Jones might look on their lives so far 

One played the charming, womanising rotter Daniel Cleaver; the other, the steadfast but sexy human rights lawyer Mark Darcy. As leading characters in the Bridget Jones movies, they competed for the affections of the heroine and celebrated singleton.

This week, the actors who played those parts — Hugh Grant and Colin Firth — both celebrate their 60th birthdays making them v.v. middle aged.

Here, CLAUDIA CONNELL imagines how Bridget Jones might look back on their lives so far . . .

Colin Firth (left) and Hugh Grant (right) both celebrate their 60th birthdays this week  

Colin Firth (left) and Hugh Grant (right) both celebrate their 60th birthdays this week

 

   These stars lived to be 100 years old -

http://a.msn.com/01/en-au/BB18PnKA?ocid=se2  

Slide 1 of 26: Some stars have been lucky enough to reach their 100th birthday. Find out which actors, singers, artists, and scientists surpassed 100 years of age and their secrets to achieving such longevity.Leslie Townes "Bob" Hope KBE, KC*SG, KSS was a British-American stand-up comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete, and author.  

Wikipedia

Born29 May 1903, 

Eltham, London, United Kingdom

Died27 July 2003, Toluca Lake, Los Angeles, California, United States

ChildrenLinda HopeAnthony J. HopeEleanora HopeWilliam Kelly Francis HopeTV shows:

 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

WifeGrace Louise Troxell (m. 1933–1934), 

Dolores Hope (m. ?–2003)

Places livedElthamLondonAge at death100 years 

Slide 2 of 26: Kirk Douglas died on February 5, 2020, at the age of 103. This Hollywood giant with the legendary dimple appeared in nearly 100 films, including Paths of Glory (1957) and Spartacus (1960). His career progressively declined during the ‘90s, in part due to a serious helicopter accident and a stroke. Despite his popularity, Kirk Douglas only received one honorary Oscar in 1996. According to his son, Michael Douglas, vodka martinis were Kirk's secret to longevity.

Kirk Douglas died on February 5, 2020, at the age of 103.

Kirk Douglas was an American actor, producer, director, philanthropist, and writer. After an impoverished childhood with immigrant parents and six sisters, he made his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers with Barbara Stanwyck.    Wikipedia Born9 December 1916, Amsterdam, New York, United States Died5 February 2020, Beverly Hills, California, United States Height1.75 m   SpouseAnne Buydens (m. 1954–2020), Diana Douglas (m. 1943–1951)   ChildrenMichael DouglasEric DouglasJoel DouglasPeter Douglas

 

   

Slide 3 of 26: Considered the last living film legend since the death of Kirk Douglas, Olivia de Havilland will celebrate her 104th birthday on July 1, 2020. With nearly 60 movies to her credit, de Havilland is best known for her role as Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind (1939). She then won two Oscars for best actress for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949). Frustrated by the lack of diversity in her roles, she sued Warner Bros. in the 1940s, effectively changing the face of the profession.

 

Olivia de Havilland: 103 years

Considered the last living film legend since the death of Kirk Douglas, Olivia de Havilland will celebrate her 104th birthday on July 1, 2020.

 With nearly 60 movies to her credit, de Havilland is best known for her role as Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind (1939).

She then won two Oscars for best actress for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949). Frustrated by the lack of diversity in her roles,

She sued Warner Bros. In the 1940s, effectively changing the face of the profession.

 

 

 

Reminds me of Western Australia when we first arrived from the UK!  LOL

 

Ma and Pa Kettle Movies | Ultimate Movie Rankings

We arrived in a bush down called Manjimup and the houses looked like this out in the bush!  

The movie came from the USA called Ma and Par Kettle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_and_Pa_Kettle

 

Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia  Ma and Pa Kettle's house | Old tv shows, Universal pictures, Old tv

https://www.pinterest.com.au/bjorgeabraham/ma-and-pa-kettle/

Ma and Pa Kettle (1949) - IMDb

 

 

The 50 Best 1970's Movie Posters | IndieWire

13 Best Sites for Free Vintage Photos and Artworks - Digital Arts

I simply loved that movie, I wonder if it's still available to buy?

HOLA,  have put a bit at the end of this post for you,   i have a spare copy of ZULU,   if you would like it,   no p.m.s anymore,    so dont know how you would get address to me,   maybe through DREW?     

Love Story & Others Lot (Paramount, 1970). Turkish Posters (2) | Lot #51336  | Heritage Auctions

Love Story - now that was a real tearjerker. 

El Dorado (1966) – Stranded Below Nirvana

I was never a John Wayne fan and Robert Mitcham - I used to call him mumbles.

 

British actress Diana Rigg, who portrayed spy Emma Peel and murderer Medea, dies aged 82   8 hrs ago

 

 

The cast members of one of Britain's most popular TV series in the 1960s "The Avengers" (L-R) Diana ..

LONDON (Reuters) - British actress Diana Rigg, who came to fame in the cult 1960s TV show "The Avengers" and enjoyed a distinguished and varied career on stage and screen from James Bond to "Game of Thrones", died on Thursday aged 82.

Diana Rigg gives the thumbs up sign as she holds her Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Ac..

Rigg won numerous Emmy, Tony and Bafta awards during her long and prestigious career, equally at home in classical theatre roles as those in popular TV shows.

"My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family," her actress daughter Rachael Stirling said in a statement.

 

"She died of cancer diagnosed in March, and spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and a deep pride in her profession. I will miss her beyond words."

 

Rigg, born in Doncaster in northern England, moved with her family to India before going to school in England. She studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before making her debut at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959.

It was her role as the karate-kicking, leather-clad secret agent Emma Peel in "The Avengers", alongside Patrick McNee's bowler-hatted John Steed, that brought her to wide attention.

She went on to star in the James Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" in which her character marries the British spy. A return to the theatre resulted in a string of hits in the 1970s and 80s, and she was acclaimed for her role as Medea in the early 1990s for which she won a Tony.

Recently, she is best known for playing Olenna Tyrell in "Game of Thrones".

"For half her life Diana was the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what used to be called a Trouper. She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone. Her talent was luminous," British playwright Tom Stoppard said in a statement.

Diana Rigg dead: Game of Thrones, Avengers, James Bond star dies at 82 |  Geelong Advertiser

 Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers circa 1960s. Today is her 80th  birthday, most of you know her as Olenna Tyrell, the queen of thorns in  Game of Thrones :

 

 

 

                                   Diana Rigg: 'Becoming a sex symbol overnight shocked me' | Life and style |  The Guardian

 

 

The veteran actress, who played Emma Peel in 1960s TV series The Avengers, died following a cancer diagnosis in March.

Her other famous roles included James Bond's wife in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969, while recently she had reached a new audience as the cunning and manipulative Olenna Tyrell in hit fantasy drama Game Of Thrones.

This Tuesday she appeared in Channel 5's new version of All Creatures Great And Small as the grand Mrs Pumphrey.

Besides her screen roles, she was feted for her stage work. Director Jonathan Kent said: 'Her combination of force of personality, beauty, courage and sheer emotional power, made her a great classical actress – one of an astonishing generation of British stage performers.'

Playwright Sir Tom Stoppard said: 'Her talent was luminous.' And fellow playwright Sir David Hare said: 'When Emma Peel played Euripides' Medea, Albee's Martha and Brecht's Mother Courage she swept all before her.'

Here, RICHARD KAY looks at the actress's stellar career.

Dame Diana Rigg was last night hailed as a 'luminous talent' after her death yesterday at the age of 82. Pictured: Rigg with Patrick McNee in The Avengers Dame Diana Rigg was last night hailed as a 'luminous talent' after her death yesterday at the age of 82. Pictured: Rigg with Patrick McNee in The Avengers

Anyone of a certain age brought up on 1960s black and white television will remember Diana Rigg as the leather catsuit-clad, high-kicking Emma Peel.

With her blue-stocking delivery, she disarmed villains before polishing them off with the firmest of karate chops while at the same time her witty, sexually laden double-entendres with her co-star left viewers forever wondering if they did, or did not, go to bed.

The Avengers, which made her a star, is still shown around the world and polls regularly vote her the sexiest television star of all time. 

Such was her captivating allure that Douglas Fairbanks Junior, a tireless ladies' man, was moved to declare that only an Outer Mongolian monk would not find her 'devastatingly attractive'.

But the Yorkshire-born actress with the cut-glass accent, who died yesterday at the age of 82, was never entirely comfortable with her status as a Sixties bombshell.

Despite being the only Bond girl to get 007 to the altar, she was happier on stage where she enjoyed a remarkable career of theatrical highs.

The critic Bernard Levin described her as a 'force of nature' and, along with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, she was one of the three great dames of British theatre. Not that she turned her back on television or film. 

Anyone of a certain age brought up on 1960s black and white television will remember Diana Rigg as the leather catsuit-clad, high-kicking Emma Peel, writes Richard Kay Anyone of a certain age brought up on 1960s black and white television will remember Diana Rigg as the leather catsuit-clad, high-kicking Emma Peel, writes Richard KayPictured: Rigg as the manipulative Olenna Tyrell in hit fantasy drama Game Of Thrones Pictured: Rigg as the manipulative Olenna Tyrell in hit fantasy drama Game Of Thrones

She won a legion of new and younger fans as Lady Olenna Tyrell, the bloodthirsty matriarch in Game Of Thrones.

And only the night before her death was announced, she was appearing as the eccentric Mrs Pumphrey on Channel 5 in the latest TV adaptation of James Herriot's All Creatures Great And Small.

In a statement, Dame Diana's agent said she died 'peacefully on Thursday morning at home with her family'.

Her actress daughter Rachael Stirling, who had appeared alongside her mother in a 2013 episode of Doctor Who, said she had been diagnosed with cancer in March and had 'spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and a deep pride in her profession. I will miss her beyond words.'

Her co-stars flooded social media with tributes to the 'flinty, fearless, fabulous force of nature' who had a 'dazzling wit and inimitable voice'.

Perhaps the most moving came from George Lazenby whose one outing as James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service saw Diana Rigg not only as his love interest but also acting him off the screen. 

'I'm so sad to hear of the death of Diana Rigg,' he wrote on Instagram. 'She undoubtedly raised my acting game.

In a statement, Dame Diana's agent said she died 'peacefully on Thursday morning at home with her family' In a statement, Dame Diana's agent said she died 'peacefully on Thursday morning at home with her family'Her other famous roles included James Bond's wife in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969 Her other famous roles included James Bond's wife in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969

'The death of Contessa Teresa di Vincenzo Draco [her character in the movie] 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.'

But for all the actress's later successes and awards, no role quite eclipsed her breathtaking arrival as the capable and desirable Mrs Peel, leading lady to Patrick Macnee's smoothly debonair John Steed in The Avengers.

Even though the Sixties was a time of cultural change, her role gave her the chance to be one of the first female characters on TV to give men as good as she got.

She rarely lost a fight and was portrayed as a master of martial arts and fencing. She drove a Lotus Elan – the height of Sixties chic – and, with her gamine figure styled in the latest black and white mini-skirts and PVC jumpsuits, she looked fabulous too.

Her favourite guise was that of a women's magazine reporter, trying to interview business tycoons and corrupt playboys. Everything oozed sex appeal.

As to that endlessly fascinating banter with Steed, viewers were left to make up their own minds. To Rigg it was an enjoyable flirtation – but one that went nowhere.

For his part, Macnee thought they slept together all the time, just not in front of the camera. The teasing innuendo between the two helped make the show the international hit it became. In fact, but for one of those chance happenings for which every actor is grateful, she might never have got the part.

Enid Rigg – Diana was a middle name – was born in Doncaster in 1938 but almost immediately moved to India where her father Louis was an engineer on the railways. Pictured with Rachael Stirling in March Enid Rigg – Diana was a middle name – was born in Doncaster in 1938 but almost immediately moved to India where her father Louis was an engineer on the railways. Pictured with Rachael Stirling in MarchRigg at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards in New York in June 2018 
 Rigg receiving the Icon Award at the Cannes International Series Festival in 2019 Rigg at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards in New York in June 2018 (left) and receiving the Icon Award at the Cannes International Series Festival in 2019

She had already screen-tested for the role – to replace Honor Blackman who had left to play Pussy Galore in 007 film Goldfinger and whom she would later follow as a James Bond love interest.

Despite Rigg's solid accomplishments – she had spent more than five years with the Royal Shakespeare Company – she was not chosen and the role went to another actress, Elizabeth Shepherd. But after two days of filming Brian Clemens, the programme's producer, was not happy.

'She's not a bad actress,' he later recalled of Miss Shepherd. 'But she just didn't have a sense of humour at all – that was essential in The Avengers. 

So we scrapped what we'd shot and got rid of her and then tested and out of the tests came Diana Rigg, who was head and shoulders above everybody else.'

Two days later, she was filming. Her performance as the cat-suited Mrs Peel brought her instant fame as The Avengers became as much a symbol of the Swinging '60s as the Mini, The Beatles and the mini-skirt.

Sexy, resourceful and self-assured – along with those deadly fighting skills – Rigg's character became symbol for the growing feminist movement. Her action-girl persona, coupled with that husky voice – the result of a 20-a-day cigarette habit – also brought her plenty of male admirers.

'We had no idea it would be defining,' she later said. 'It was nose to the grindstone – working all hours that God gave.'

She also showed she was capable of taking on the Establishment. During the first series, she discovered she was earning less than the cameramen and insisted on more money before making another episode.

But at the same time Rigg found the sudden stardom difficult to cope with. She recalled having to hide in a bathroom to avoid the attention of crowds. It was partly resentment at the invasion of her privacy that persuaded her that she would spend only two years with The Avengers.

'It was very, very intrusive in those days because I was instantly recognisable,' the actress later told Variety magazine. 'I was grateful to be a success but there was a price to pay.'

Her co-stars flooded social media with tributes to the 'flinty, fearless, fabulous force of nature' who had a 'dazzling wit and inimitable voice' Her co-stars flooded social media with tributes to the 'flinty, fearless, fabulous force of nature' who had a 'dazzling wit and inimitable voice'Diana Rigg as the cutthroat matriarch Oleanna Tyrell in HBO's worldwide hit series, Game of Thrones, a show she admitted in 2019 that she had never watched Diana Rigg as the cutthroat matriarch Oleanna Tyrell in HBO's worldwide hit series, Game of Thrones, a show she admitted in 2019 that she had never watched

She was also keen to keep her stage career alive. 'Some weeks I'd spend four days on the set of The Avengers and then head up to Stratford to be Regan to Olivier's [King] Lear,' she recalled.

But it was not just the lure of the stage. She left The Avengers for the action-packed world of James Bond. Although she and 007 marry, in almost the last clip Rigg, playing a spirited heiress, is machine-gunned down and dies.

Her relationship with Australian-born Lazenby was difficult, although she denied deliberately eating garlic before their love scenes. 

Being a Bond girl did not make her a film star, however, any more than appearing with Oliver Reed in The Assassination Bureau or as Vincent Price's daughter in the camp horror film Theatre of Blood did. 'I suppose the thing I regret most is that I never really cracked films,' she once disclosed.

But back on stage it was a different story. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in Abelard And Heloise, although it wasn't all plain sailing.

In New York, her portrayal of Heloise was savaged by acerbic critic John Simon, who described her in a nude scene as 'built like a brick basilica with insufficient flying buttresses'. She later admitted she never felt comfortable removing her clothes on stage.

'I come from Yorkshire and no one from Yorkshire takes their clothes off except on a Friday night,' she said. The episode led her to later publish a collection of scathing theatrical reviews titled No Turn Unstoned.

Enid Rigg – Diana was a middle name – was born in Doncaster in 1938 but almost immediately moved to India where her father Louis was an engineer on the railways. Aged seven, she was brought back to England by her mother Beryl and sent to boarding school in Pudsey, near Leeds. Brother Hugh was at school in Buckinghamshire.

After India's independence her parents returned to Britain but money was tight and she remembers her father eking out his whisky vowing to herself that she would earn enough to give him a bottle every day. 

In 2017, that 20-a-day smoking habit brought serious illness and she had to undergo a heart operation  

In 2017, that 20-a-day smoking habit brought serious illness and she had to undergo a heart operation

Encouraged by a teacher she applied for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the acting school, at 16. Hugh, meanwhile, went on to become a test pilot.

After a stint in rep, she was taken on by the RSC in 1959 where the distinguished director Peter Brook patronisingly observed of her: 'If she doesn't waste herself on silly films, she could become something good.' She did, of course, do both.

In 1990, she won a Bafta for the role of an obsessive mother in the BBC drama Mother Love. Four years later, she won a Tony for best actress in one of her most acclaimed roles, that of Medea in the ancient Greek play. In the same year, Rigg was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Despite such a high-profile career and polished image, Dame Diana took refuge in a well-protected private life.

In interviews, particularly with women, she could be brusque to the point of rudeness, especially when questioned about men. At one stage she announced she would never again speak to female journalists whom she crushingly dubbed 'grubettes'.

She was married twice, with both unions ending in divorce.In the 1960s, she had a relationship with the director Philip Saville but her first husband was an Israeli artist Menachem Gueffen whom she married in 1973. They separated a year later with Rigg describing the marriage as a 'grotesque error'.

She then married tweedy Scottish landowner Archie Stirling. It surprised friends because she had been seen as something of a bohemian figure. 

They divorced in 1990 after Stirling had an affair with the actress Joely Richardson which left her devastated, and ever since Dame Diana lived either with her daughter Rachael or alone.

In 2017, that 20-a-day smoking habit brought serious illness and she had to undergo a heart operation. 

During surgery, the actress's heart stopped and her life hanged by a thread. 'The good Lord must have said, 'Send the old bag down again',' Dame Diana, the devout Christian, later said. 'I'm not having her yet.'

For years, she was pursued by a stalker who sent her unwanted gifts and unsolicited and often deeply unpleasant letters.

And although she had left Emma Peel, the role that brought her public attention, long behind, those silky self-defence skills must have come in handy one last time.

 

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