05 December 1968: The Record

Diana Rigg Gets Her Man Before She Dies

While the weather outside was delightful, the view inside wasn't bad either. Mainly because Diana Rigg was seated across the cocktail table, sipping champagne and talking about her latest artistic involvement, the new James Bond flick, 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'.

The only hitch was a nervous press agent who kept looking at his watch, biting his fingernails and every few minutes reminding Miss Rigg that she had a hairdresser's appointment.

Tall, beautiful and articulate, Diana Rigg assured the publicist that everything would be all right. She figured that as long as I had shown the courage to get into a cablecar and come up the mountain to visit with her and the rest of the people in the film, she could spend some time with me and let the hairdresser wait a few minutes. I couldn't really understand the press agent's concern for the hairdresser. She couldn't get him any newspaper space.

The most interesting aspect of Miss Rigg's debut in the James Bond series is that she wins her man - without force. The gal who tossed many a karate chop on 'The Avengers', a most successful television series (she has since left to concentrate on other forms of the Living Arts), uses her feminine charm to snare 007 (newcomer George Lazenby this time). They get married, but alas, tragedy overtakes wedded bliss and Miss Rigg dies in the flick.

She does get a chance to carry over some of her prowess into the film in one fight scene.

"I'm happy to say, I get overpowered," she announced, with a hint that she was getting tired of always winning fights over male bruisers in 'The Avengers'.

Miss Rigg left the television series on her own. The series gave her exposure, she acknowledged, and made her a well-known personality. But it did nothing for her artistically.

"The irony of that series," she explained "is that it didn't widen me. Only I can appreciate that."

'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' is Miss Rigg's third motion picture since quitting the series. She did 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', and 'The Assassination Bureau' with Telly Savalas, who also costars in the Bond picture here. But, realistically, for commercial value, she realizes that this Bond picture could be the real payoff.

"There are two important factors in the film business," she observed. "There should be consistency in the career, and secondly, there is a certain amount of freedom attached to box office power. The first two films won't precipitate into box office power."

The Bond picture could give her the marquis value she's looking for at this point in her career - a career, incidentally, which has strong ties with the theater in England long before 'The Avengers' came along. It sounds incongruous, but she also gives poetry recitals, hardly in keeping up with her television image.

"It is interesting to me. I've done them in Yorkshire. It's sort of a personal indulgence. For me it's therapeutic."

Miss Rigg had intended to do 'Paint Your Wagon' with Lee Marvin in the United States, but personal reasons prevented it.

'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' is what she describes as semi-epic. It has a$10 million-plus budget and will get the big publicity building that normally accompanies a James Bond picture.

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