Actor Richard Kiel, the famous steel-toothed villain Jaws from the James Bond saga, has died at the age of 74 at Saint Agnes medical centre in Fresno, California. Details have not been given, due to patient confidentiality.
The Detroit-born died a week broke his leg a week ago, but it’s not known whether this had anything to do with his death.
Kiel was one of the most memorable villains in two of Roger Moore’s best Bond films, “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker.” Moore’s stunt-double reportedly filled in for Kiel, because the legendary actor was afraid of heights, which is ironic because he was 218cm (7ft 2in) tall! He was also cast as Mr. Larson in Adam Sandler’s “Happy Gilmore,” and he voiced the villain Vlad in the tale “Tangled.”
Kiel made his small screen debut in a 1960, in a “Laramie” episode called “Street of Hate.” He was a nightclub bouncer before being recruited for the lead role in “Eegah,” in which he played a prehistoric caveman.
Between acting and writing screenplays, he also worked as a cemetery plot salesman and night school math tutor! He turned down the role of Darth Vader in order to play Jaws, which he felt offered greater acting potential since the character was not encased in a mask.
Steve Stevens, Kiel’s agent stated “He was a very loyal friend and client for over 35 years, a terrific husband and father, and was not only a giant actor but a giant man.”
Stevens also said that Richard took a break from acting, after a truck accident several years ago. The accident forced him to walk with a cane. He was faced with walking difficulties so he used a motorized wheelchair. However, Kiel remained active on the autograph circuit for Bond fans.
His current project was Cassius Clay, about a 19th century crusader against slavery.