Emma Peelers

Term used to describe the clothing worn by the actress Diana Riggs when she played the karate-kicking secret agent Mrs. Emma Peel on the British adventure THE AVENGERS/ABC/1966-69.


Emma Peel dressed in tight but comfortably fitting outfits of black leather and other assorted colored jumpsuits which fostered lustful gazes and smiles among the show’s many fans.

Her outfits came to be known as “Emma Peelers.” Many were made of stretch fabrics with a recurring motif of buckles, links and braiding. The Press accused THE AVENGERS of “catering” to leather freaks.

Honor Blackman who played Mrs. Catherine Gale, (the first female in the series before Emma Peel), also had a proclivity for wearing leather ensembles. The Emma Peel look inspired singer Toni Braxton to wear a white skin tight body suit in her 1996 video hit “You’re Makin’ Me High.

Note: In 1998, sultry actress Uma Thurman played the role of Emma Peel in the movie remake The Avengers co-starring Ralph Fiennes as John Steed.

In the 1990s, actress Andrea Parker played the role of Miss Parker, a cruel, domineering woman who relentlessly chased an adult genius named Jarod on the NBC series THE PRETENDERS. She was dubbed an evil ‘90s version of Emma Peel with dark hair and an alluring figure that wore tight micro-mini skirts and slacks.

Marie Donaldson, the studio’s press officer for THE AVENGERS series is credited with creating the character name “Emma Peel.” She simply played around with the phrase “Man Appeal” [a trait truly part of the character’s style] then shortened it to “M-appeal” and finally to “Emma Peel.”


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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