Actor Richard Kiel best known as Jaws, the assassin with metal dentition in two James Bond, “The Spy Who loved Me” and “Moonraker”, died on Wednesday in St. Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, California at the age of 74. A cause of the death was not released. Kiel, who stood for more than 7 feet tall, weighed upward of 300 pounds and had a hormonal disorder known as Acromegaly, which is often associated with gigantism, a gradual enlargement of bones in the hands, feet and face, that made him a natural choice to play “giant type” of characters.

Ricjard Kiel

Richard Kiel with Roger Moore in the 1977 James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me”.

Richard Kiel was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1939. He made his acting debut in a 1960 Laramie episode called “Street of Hate”. He also acted in an unaired TV-pilot featuring Lee Falk’s superhero The Phantom, where Kiel played an assassin called “Big Mike”, who was hired to kill the titular hero. Before breaking into film and television Kiel worked in numerous jobs including a nightclub bouncer and a cemetery plot salesman. In 2002, he published an autobiography titled “Making It Big in the Movies.”

The gentle giant who has credits in more than 65 TV shows and 20 movies, was also sometimes frustrated when people often confused him with another giant entertainment figure, like Andre the Giant, the wrestler-turned-actor, Ted Cassidy, who played Lurch on “The Addams Family”, or Fred Gwynne, who was the Frankenstein-like Herman Munster on “The Munsters”.

Other Mr. Kiel memorable roles included bullying golf spectator Mr. Larson in “Happy Gilmore”, lethal Dr. Loveless’s assistant Voltaire in “The Wild, Wild West” and extraterrestrial Kanamit in “The Twilight Zone”. He also reprised the character of Jaws for several James Bond video games and voiced the thug Vlad in the animated Disney film “Tangled”.

I didn’t know more about Richard Kiel but, after reading his bio and interviews, he was truly a gentle giant and a very kind person. He certainly made his mark with some iconic acting roles. My condolences to his family and to all who loved him.

Category: Entertainment

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