British culture was the epitome of cool in the 1960s.
The Beatles, the Stones and other groups. Monty Python. James Bond, books and movies. Roger Moore's "The Saint."
No British import was cooler than "The Avengers," the TV show starring Patrick Macnee as the dapper spy John Steed and Diana Rigg as his partner, the gorgeous, acrobatic Emma Peel.
With its gray English scenes, self-referential humor and campy plots, the show possessed a subtle British irony.
Among all of Britain's pop icons who dazzled its long lost colony, no one personified the swinging London panache more than Rigg's portrayal of the daring Mrs. Peel, although the show played a relatively minor role in the British invasion and she appeared for only a couple of seasons.
Rigg, who had a long and distinguished stage, film and TV career, died at age 82 Thursday of cancer, according to media reports.
The super-heroic Mrs. Peel (who was her husband?), the first TV crush of millions, carried out her incredible feats wearing a skin-tight jumpsuit.
Her insouciant wit, golden smile and winsome gaze were welcoming, not intimidating. She was a cool Mom who happened to be expert at martial arts and leaping from high walls.
While Sean Connery's Bond exuded glamour with his clothing, automobiles and ease with women, Macnee exemplified understated class with his bowler, three-piece suits and umbrella. His Steed was a droll, understated partner to Rigg's flamboyant Emma.
Rigg was a classical actress acclaimed for her roles in British theater and on Broadway. She also starred in a number of TV shows and films, including a James Bond movie in which she was the only Bond girl to ever marry the spy.
It was fitting that one of her last triumphs was portraying Oleana Tyrell in "Game of Thrones."
Her Emma Peel set the standard for the HBO hit's fearless women played by Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Lena Headey and Gwendoline Christie.