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(1962 - 1967) Relationship
Several months ago when Diana Rigg split with her lover of eight years, film director Philip Saville, it was another example of her irrevocably independent spirit reasserting herself, a confirmation of her own emancipation proclamation.
For Diana is definitely a loner. It's the style of life which has given her the greatest satisfaction personally and in her profession. No longer with a man to consider, Diana promptly set up a bachelor-girl home in Barnes, a nook of southeast London.
But Diana has always been ruggedly individualistic. She usually arrives at parties and premieres alone. She detests chauffers, sports cars and taxis, whilst cavorting about London in a battered Land Rover. She goes to dinner alone. And at the present time, she would appear to have no obvious maternal inclinations. Yes, if women's lib was looking for a lady to live up to some adages, Diana Rigg would fit the bill.
"Liberation helps a woman develop from within," Diana tells me, as she busily unpacks crates in her new home. "Any sort of spiritual or sexual freedom is something everyone must work out for themselves.
"One must learn not to care too much. I think one of the reasons I've been successful is that I don't give a damn. I really don't. I don't give a damn about being wealthy. I couldn't care less about jewelry, furs, luxury cars, expensive home trappings. No, none of that. I live to work!
"Oh, I got a bit of money for that James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and The Avengers series, at the time. But for the role of Lady Macbeth at the National Theatre, my net pay comes to about a hundred dollars a week, after everything is taken out. And I'm not doing this horror film with Vincent Price, Theatre of Blood, for the money either. It's just a lovely part. I parade about in men's clothing, wearing a mustache as Vincent goes around killing the drama critics who panned his play."
She adds jokingly: "I've thought of doing those critics in several times. I was especially disappointed that Heloise and Abelard didn't have a longer Broadway run.
"Well, there are a lot of disappointments in life. And in these past few months, I've discovered how to deal with certain emotional problems which I had never been required to face. It's inevitable, I guess, when you love with someone for eight years. You can't walk out of a relationship without leaving traumas. I tell myself, we never said it would be 'for always'."
Philip Saville is ten years older than Diana. He never divorced his playwright wife, Jane Arden, although at one point it appeared he would. They had two sons together, Sebastian, now nineteen, and Dominic, fourteen.
He and Diana shared a quaint Hampstead house which once belonged to the painter Augustus John. It's a charming place, filled with potted plants, stuffed birds, busts, socking chairs, and all sorts of bric-a-brac. Here, they lived the all too brief years of happiness. Now Philip occupies the house alone.
"At the beginning, we agreed to play it by ear. We discovered happiness day by day. I realize it sounds trite, but that's how it was. We believed our life together would be fantastic and lovely just so long as we didn't expect oo much from the other. Maybe that's what sowed the seeds of discontent."
She stands up. Her rich auburn hair is done up in a bob. She has a good figure. Her manner gives the impression of fortitude and stability. Instinctively you feel she is not a lady who broods about either love or life.
"Come, help me unpack these books," she says, as she starts to open a case. She lifts a pile of books out - Joyce, Beckett, Pinter. She places them delicately on a library shelf. Suddenly, I am terribly aware that here passing through her hands is a lifetime of hopes, aspirations, and dreams.
"I recall it was very difficult when I first told my parents that Philip and I were living together, unwed. They couldn't readily accept it. I had been raised with all the moral middle-class conventions. A girl was to be honest, unafraid and proper. I broke the last rule when I appeared nude on stage in Abelard and Heloise. But I had not been disciplined as a child, to be frank. My father was with the army in India, whilst I was away in schools in England. I never saw my parents for two to three years at a time.
"The schools tried to impose their rigid morality and values upon the girls. But I resented this and inwardly revolted. At one school, St. Christopher's, I managed to become a leader. Yet looking back, perhaps I wasn't wise enough to use my power constructively. You know what young girls are like, so terribly involved with their little loves and hatreds. However, the experience was positive. I managed to evolve a constructive philosophy and become an individualist, despite the fact that the faculty tr