Richard Kiel

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Richard Kiel
Richard Kiel 2014 (cropped).jpg
Born Richard Dawson Kiel
(1939-09-13)September 13, 1939
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died September 10, 2014(2014-09-10) (aged 74)
Fresno, CA, U.S.
Resting place
Belmont Memorial Park, Fresno, CA, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Actor, voice artist, comedian
Years active 1960–2014
Height 7 ft 1.5 in (2.17 m)
Religion Christian
Spouse(s) Faye Daniels (m. 1960–73) (divorced)
Diane Rogers (m. 1974–2014) (his death)
Children 4 (with Diane Rogers)

Richard Dawson Kiel (September 13, 1939 – September 10, 2014[1]) was an American actor, voice artist, and comedian, best known for his role as Jaws in the James Bond franchise; he also had cameos in many other James Bond video games. He was also known for roles in The Longest Yard (1974), Silver Streak (1976), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Pale Rider (1985), and as Mr. Larson in Happy Gilmore. In television, he appeared as the Kanamit aliens in the classic The Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man" and as Dr. Miguelito Loveless' assistant, Voltaire, in first-season episodes of The Wild, Wild West (1965-1966).

Early life[edit]

Kiel was born Richard Dawson Kiel in Detroit, Michigan on September 13, 1939.[2][3] He was of German descent.

Career[edit]

Kiel made his acting debut in the Laramie episode "Street of Hate." He also acted in an unaired TV-pilot featuring Lee Falk's superhero The Phantom, where Kiel portrayed an assassin called Big Mike.

Before breaking into film and television, Kiel worked in numerous jobs, including a nightclub bouncer and a cemetery plot salesman.[4]

Kiel broke into films in the early 1960s with Eegah (1962), which was later featured on Elvira's Movie Macabre and Mystery Science Theater 3000, as were The Phantom Planet and The Human Duplicators. He also produced, co-wrote, and starred in The Giant of Thunder Mountain. Kiel also appeared as the towering — and lethal — assistant Voltaire to Dr. Miguelito Loveless in first season episodes of The Wild, Wild West. He later appeared in the episode "The Night of the Simian Terror" as Dimas, the outcast son of a wealthy family, banished because of birth defects that distorted his body and apparently affected his mind. This episode is significant because it allowed Kiel the opportunity to really act rather than just look intimidating. Kiel also had a cameo role in a 1961 episode of The Rifleman.

Kiel as Voltaire and Michael Dunn as Dr. Loveless in 1966

From 1963 to 1965, Kiel worked as a night school math instructor in Burbank, California.[5]

In the Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Vulcan Affair," Kiel appeared as a guard in Vulcan's plant; as well, he portrayed Merry in "The Hong Kong Shilling Affair."

He also portrayed Reace in Silver Streak. He and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the original choices to portray the title character in The Incredible Hulk. Schwarzenegger was turned down due to his height. Kiel participated in the filming of the pilot. During the shoot, producers decided their Hulk needed to be muscular rather than just towering, and Kiel was dismissed because he possessed more body fat than the producers deemed necessary. According to a Den of Geek interview,[4] Kiel, who saw properly out of only one eye, also reacted badly to the contact lenses used for the role, and found the green makeup difficult to remove, so he did not mind losing the part. All recognizable footage of Kiel was cut, except the one where the Hulk saves the little girl from drowning; the scenes were then re-shot with Lou Ferrigno.

He has appeared on many other television episodes, such as Laramie, I Dream Of Jeannie, Honey West, Gilligan's Island, The Monkees, Daniel Boone, Emergency!, Starsky & Hutch, Land of the Lost, The Fall Guy, and Simon & Simon.

Kiel on February 10, 2004

The James Bond film producers spotted Kiel in Barbary Coast and thought he was ideal for the role of Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). He was one of the few Bond villains to appear in two Bond films, later appearing in Moonraker (1979). He reprised his role of Jaws in James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, supplying his voice and likeness.

Personal life[edit]

Kiel's height and features were a result of a hormonal condition known as acromegaly. In his prime, Kiel stood 7 feet 1.5 inches (217 cm) tall. He noted in his 2002 autobiography Making It Big in the Movies that he used to state that he was 7 feet 2 inches (218.44 cm) because it was easier to remember. He suffered from acrophobia (fear of heights), and during the cable car stunt scenes in Moonraker, a stunt double was used because Kiel refused to be filmed on the top of a cable car at over 2000 feet (607 m) high.

Kiel in the Netherlands on May 14, 2006

In 1992, Kiel suffered a severe head injury in a car accident, which affected his balance. He was subsequently forced to walk with a cane to support himself (as shown in his appearance in Happy Gilmore, where he is seen leaning on a person or a cane). Afterwards, Kiel used a scooter or wheelchair.

He co-authored a biography of the abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay called Kentucky Lion.

Kiel was also a born-again Christian. His website states that his religious conversion helped him to overcome alcoholism.[6]

Death[edit]

On September 10, 2014, Kiel died at St. Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, California at age 74, three days before his 75th birthday.[7][8][9] The cause of death was a stroke. The New York Times said he might have died from cancer. He had been admitted to the hospital after breaking his leg the previous week.[10] Kiel is survived by his wife Diane, four children, and nine grandchildren.[11][12]

Three days before his death, Kiel had been a guest on BBC Radio 4 along with Roger Moore, Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, Britt Ekland, and John Glen, talking about their time on the James Bond franchise. After Kiel's death, Moore said that he thought Kiel sounded weak, but at the time, thought it was the connection as he was in Fresno, California, calling into the show.[13][14]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1961 The Phantom Planet The Solarite
1962 Eegah Eegah
1963 30 Minutes at Gunsight Uncredited
1963 House of the Damned Giant
1963 The Nutty Professor Bodybuilder #1 Uncredited
1964 Roustabout Strong Man Uncredited
1964 The Nasty Rabbit Ranch Foreman Uncredited
1965 Two on a Guillotine Tall Man at Funeral
1965 The Human Duplicators Dr. Kolos
1965 Brainstorm Psychiatric Hospital Patient Uncredited
1965 Lassie's Great Adventure Chinook Pete
1966 The Las Vegas Hillbillys Moose
1967 A Man Called Dagger Otto
1968 Now You See It, Now You Don't Nori
1968 Skidoo Beany
1970 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Blacksmith Uncredited
1972 Deadhead Miles Unknown role
1974 The Longest Yard Samson
1975 Barbary Coast Moose Moran
1976 Flash and the Firecat Tracker
1976 Gus Large Man
1976 Silver Streak Reace
1977 The Spy Who Loved Me Jaws
1977 The Incredible Hulk The Hulk One scene
1978 Force 10 from Navarone Captain Drazak
1978 They Went That-A-Way & That-A-Way Duke
1979 The Humanoid Golob
1979 Moonraker Jaws
1981 So Fine Eddie
1983 Hysterical Captain Howdy
1983 Phoenix Steel Hand
1984 Aces Go Places 3 Jaws
1984 Cannonball Run II Arnold / Mitsubishi Driver
1984 Mad Mission 3: Our Man from Bond Street Big G
1985 Qing bao long hu men Laszlo
1985 Pale Rider Club
1989 The Princess and the Dwarf Unknown role
1990 Think Big Irving
1991 The Giant of Thunder Mountain Eli Weaver
1996 Happy Gilmore Mr. Larson
1999 Inspector Gadget Jaws
2009 The Awakened Jasper
2010 The Corpse of Albert Cradette Albert Cradette
2010 Tangled Vladamir Voice work

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1960 Klondike Duff Brannigan Episode: "Bare Knuckles"
1961 The Phantom Big Mike
1961 Thriller Master Styx Episode: "Well of Doom"
1961 The Rifleman Carl Hazlitt Episode: "The Decision"
1962 The Twilight Zone Kanamit Episode: "To Serve Man"
1964 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Henchman for Mr. Vulcan Episode: "The Vulcan Affair"
Uncredited
1965 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Merry Episode: "The Hong Kong Shilling Affair"
1965 I Dream of Jeannie Ali Episode: "My Hero"
1966 Honey West Groalgo Episode: "King of the Mountain"
1966 My Mother the Car Cracks Episode: "A Riddler on the Roof"
1966 The Wild Wild West Voltaire Episodes: "The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth"
1965: "The Night That Terror Stalked the Town"
1965: "The Night of the Whirring Death"
1966 Gilligan's Island Ghost Episode: Ghost-a-Go-Go"
1967 The Monkees Monster Episode: "I Was a Teenage Monster"
1967 The Monroes Casmir Episode: "Ghosts of Paradox"
1968 I Spy Tiny Episode: "A Few Miles West of Nowhere"
1968 The Wild Wild West Dimas Episode: "The Night of the Simian Terror"
1968 It Takes a Thief Willie Trion Episode: "The Galloping Skin Game"
1969 Daniel Boone Le Mouche Episode: "Benvenuto...Who?"
1970 Disneyland Luke Brown Episode: "The Boy Who Stole the Elephant: Part 1 & 2"
1974 Kolchak: The Night Stalker The Diablero Episode: "Bad Medicine"
1974 Emergency! Carlo Episode: "I'll Fix It"
1974 Kolchak: The Night Stalker Peremalfait Episode: "The Spanish Moss Murders"
1975 Switch Unknown role Episode: "Death Heist"
1976 Starsky & Hutch Iggy Episode: "Omaha Tiger"
1975 – 1976 Barbary Coast Moose Moran 14 episodes, 1975–1976
1977 Land of the Lost Malak Episodes: "Survival Kit"
"Flying Dutchman"
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Manager Episode: "The Mystery of the Haunted House"
1977 Young Dan'l Boone Unknown role Episode: "The Game"
1981 The Fall Guy Animal Episode: "That's Right, We're Bad"
1983 Simon & Simon Mark Horton Episode: "The Skeleton Who Came Out of the Closet"
1988 Out of This World Norman Episode: "Go West, Young Mayor"
1989 Superboy Vlkabok Episode: "Mr. and Mrs. Superboy"
2000 Bloodhounds Inc. Mortimer Episode: "Fangs for the Memories"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1997 GoldenEye 007 Jaws Likeness only
2000 The World Is Not Enough (video game) Jaws Likeness only, Nintendo 64 version only
2000 007 Racing Jaws Archival footage
2004 James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing Jaws Voice work
2010 GoldenEye 007 (2010 video game) Jaws Likeness only
2012 007 Legends Jaws Likeness only

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]