Three days before his 75th birthday, actor Richard Kiel passed away in a hospital located in Fresno, California earlier today. Kiel was best known for playing Jaws, the James Bond villain with teeth made out of steel. Kiel’s character appeared in both ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ and ‘Moonraker’ opposite Roger Moore’s take on James Bond.
Speaking about auditioning for the iconic role of Jaws in the Jame Bond universe, Kiel once told the producer of the films “Whomever you cast, whether it’s me or somebody else, I think it needs to be an actor because a character who kills people with his teeth could become over the top quite easily. If I were to play the role, I’d give him some human characteristics, perseverance, frustration, those kind of things.”
Prior to gaining fame in the James Bond films, Kiel made multiple guest appearances on many popular television shows throughout the 1960’s and also tried out for ‘The Incredible Hulk’ television series, a job that ultimately went to Lou Ferrigno.
During the mid eighties, Kiel continued his work in movies with appearances in ‘Cannonball Run II’ and Clint Eastwood’s ‘Pale Rider’. However, he become extremely well-known to a new generation of movie watchers when he took on the small role of Adam Sandler’s former boss in ‘Happy Gilmore’.
In the last decade, Kiel transitioned away from appearances in films to working as a voice actor, namely voicing his Jaws character in the well-received ‘James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing’ video game as well as a burly viking character named Vlad in Disney’s ‘Tangled’.
At this time, Kiel’s cause of death is unknown. It was previously reported that Kiel suffered a broken leg earlier in the week and was hospitalized due to that injury. However, it’s unclear if the broken leg was a contributing factor to his death.