Rigg made her professional stage debut in 1957 in The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959. She made her Broadway debut in the 1971 production of Abelard & Heloise. Her film roles include Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968); Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, wife of James Bond, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969); Lady Holiday in The Great Muppet Caper (1981); and Arlena Marshall in Evil Under the Sun (1982). She won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the BBC miniseries Mother Love (1989), and an Emmy Award for her role as Mrs. Danvers in an adaptation of Rebecca (1997). Her other television credits include You, Me and the Apocalypse (2015), Detectorists (2015), and the Doctor Who episode "The Crimson Horror" (2013) with her daughter, Rachael Stirling.