Kiel died in hospital after a leg injury.
James Bond couldn’t kill Jaws; only time could do that, and actor Richard Kiel has passed, age 74. He died in a Fresno, California hospital, where he was receiving treatment for a broken leg.
Kiel is one of the few Bond villains to play in two movies, Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me, and he also played Jaws in the Hong Kong action spy parody Aces Go Places 3. Kiel turned down the role of Darth Vader to play Jaws, because he felt he could bring more to the role; Vader would have had him hide his face behind a mask. Jaws also appeared in Bond games 007 Legends, James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, 007 Nightfire and GoldenEye 007.
Kiel got his start in TV, playing small roles in shows like Boris Karloff’s Thriller, Twilight Zone, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Rifleman. When he wasn’t writing scripts or acting, he moonlighted as a cemetery plot salesman, bouncer, and a night school maths teacher.
His first big screen role was the caveman in 1962 creature feature Eegah; director Arch Hall Sr. claimed he came up with the idea for the movie after meeting Kiel, and that he made the movie’s $15,000 budget back in one drive-in showing. When offered the part of Jaws he was initially sceptical, feeling that the character was more of a monster than a human. However it became such a fan favorite that, rather than have Jaws eaten by a shark at the end of The Spy Who Loved Me, the producers brought Kiel back for Moonraker.
“That was one of the big moments for me,” said Kiel, “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.” So he came back for another shot even though, he once told Letterman, those steel teeth really hurt.
His mobility was limited in recent years after a truck accident, forcing him to take a step back from acting, but he enjoyed making time for Bond autograph events. He’s survived by his wife, four children and nine grandchildren.
Image Source: IMDB