Richard Kiel, the towering actor who memorably played the villainous Jaws in two James Bond films, has died earlier today in hospital in Fresno, CA. He had reported broken his leg last week. He was 74.
At seven-foot, two-inches tall, Kiel found his career often limited to roles in which he played hulking badguys and henchmen and the occasional monster. He started off in a number of guest shots on television in the early 1960s. He also made his film debut in 1961’s The Phantom Planet, which he followed up with the titular role in 1962’s Eegah as a revived prehistoric caveman. In that same year, he appeared as an alien in the classic Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man.”
Through the rest of the 1960s and into the `70s, Kiel continued to appear on a number of television series and in variety of small films in such movies as The Nutty Professor (1963), Two On A Guillotine , The Human Duplicators (both 1965), A Man Called Dagger, Skidoo (both 1968) and The Longest Yard (1974).
In 1976, Kiel appeared as a metal-toothed assassin in the action-comedy Silver Streak which starred Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. It was a look that the actor would sport again the following year for his role as Jaws in the James Bond adventure The Spy Who Loved Me. The character would prove popular enough that he returned in the next Bond outing, 1979’s Moonraker, making him one of the few franchise bad guys to appear in more than one installment.
Other notable film appearances include Force Ten From Navarone (1978), Cannonball Run II (1984), Pale Rider (1985) and Happy Gilmore (1996).