Richard Kiel, James Bond villain Jaws actor, dies at 74

Actor Richard Kiel – who played steel-toothed villain Jaws in two James Bond films – has died in California aged 74.

The towering American star, who appeared in The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977 and Moonraker in 1979, died in hospital in Fresno on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Saint Agnes Medical Center confirmed Kiel’s death, but did not reveal the cause.

The 7ft 2in (2.18m) actor also appeared in the sports comedy Happy Gilmore, starring Adam Sandler, in 1996.

Kiel got his first acting break in the 1950s
Kiel made his name as cable-chomping henchman Jaws opposite Roger Moore as 007.

He was a guest on BBC’s Radio 4 programme The Reunion, which aired on Sunday, along with Moore and Bond actress Britt Ekland, recalling their parts in the spy series.

During the programme, he said he initially thought playing Jaws – a man who killed people with his teeth – could appear “over the top”.

“I was very put off by the description of the character and I thought, well, they don’t really need an actor, he’s more a monster part,” he said.

“So I tried to change that view of it… I said if I were to play the part, I want to give the character some human characteristics, like perseverance, frustration.”

The character of Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me was originally intended to die at the end of the movie, but he was so popular with fans that Kiel was brought back to reprise the role in Moonraker.

“The original script had me being killed by the shark,” Kiel said.

“They filmed that and they also filmed an ending where I survive and pop out of the ocean.

“That was one of the big moments for me, watching the blue-collar screening of the movie, The Spy Who Loved Me, and having the reaction of the crowd at the theatre when Jaws popped out of the ocean, survived and swam away. There were hoots and howling, applause. I couldn’t believe it.”

bbc.co.uk

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One thought on “Richard Kiel, James Bond villain Jaws actor, dies at 74

  1. saputo solo ora😦 un fulmine a ciel sereno, visto che solo poche settimane fa aveva presenziato assieme a britt ekland a un evento dedicato a 007.
    una leggenda, un ispiratore. usato anche da fellini, fra l’altro
    R.i.P.

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