Richard Kiel

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Richard Kiel
Richard Kiel 2014 (cropped).jpg
Richard Kiel, June 2014
Born Richard Dawson Kiel
(1939-09-13) September 13, 1939 (age 74)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1960–present
Height 7 ft 1.5 in (2.17 m)
Spouse(s) Diane Rogers (1974-present)

Richard Dawson Kiel (born September 13, 1939)[1] [2] is an American actor known for his role of Voltaire to Dr. Miguelito Loveless in first season episodes of The Wild, Wild West (1965-1966). Kiel also played the role of the steel-toothed Jaws in the James Bond movies The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979) as well as the video game Everything or Nothing (he also has cameos in many other James Bond videogames). He is also well known as Mr. Larson in the 1996 comedy Happy Gilmore.

Life and career[edit]

Kiel was born in Detroit, Michigan. He made his acting debut in a 1960 Laramie episode called "Street of Hate." He also acted in an unaired TV-pilot featuring Lee Falk's superhero The Phantom, where Kiel played an assassin called "Big Mike", who was hired to kill the titular hero.

Kiel broke into films in the early 1960s with the B-movie Eegah (1962), which was later featured on the TV show Elvira's Movie Macabre, Mystery Science Theater 3000, as were The Phantom Planet and The Human Duplicators. He also co-wrote, produced, and starred in the family-friendly movie 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 another role, 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, 1966.

In the first episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - The Vulcan affair, Kiel appeared as a guard in Vulcan's plant, he also played the role of "Merry" in "The Hong Kong Shilling Affair" aired on 15 Mar 1965. He also played the role of the hitman with metal teeth Reace in the (1976) film Silver Streak. He and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the original choices to play the title character in the 1977 TV series The Incredible Hulk. Schwarzenegger was turned down due to his height. Kiel participated in the filming of the TV movie 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,[3] Kiel, who sees 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.

The James Bond film producers spotted Kiel in the William Shatner western TV series Barbary Coast and thought he was ideal for the role as Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). He is one of the few Bond villains to appear in two Bond films, appearing in Moonraker in 1979. He reprised his role of Jaws in the 2004 game James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, supplying his voice and likeness.


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

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

Kiel's distinctive height and features are a result of a hormonal condition known as acromegaly. In his prime, Kiel stood 7 feet 1.5 inches (217 cm) tall. He notes in his 2002 autobiography, Making It Big in the Movies (ISBN 1-903111-31-5), that he used to state that he was 7 feet 2 inches (218.44 cm) because it was easier to remember. He suffers from acrophobia, 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.

In 1992, Kiel suffered a severe head injury in a car accident, which has affected his balance. He has since been forced to walk with a cane to support himself (as shown in his appearance in the movie Happy Gilmore, where he is seen leaning on a person or a cane). He has also been seen using a scooter or wheelchair in Welcome to Sweden.

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

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


Year Title Role Notes
1961 The Phantom Planet The Solarite
1962 The Magic Sword Pinhead uncredited
1962 Eegah! Eegah
1963 30 Minutes at Gunsight uncredited
1963 House of the Damned The 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 (1978 TV series) The Hulk one scene
1978 Force 10 from Navarone Capt. 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, Famous Guy with Metal Teeth
2009 The Awakened Jasper
2010 The Corpse of Albert Cradette Albert Cradette
2010 Tangled Vladamir Voice work


Year Title Role Notes
1960 Laramie unknown role episode Street of Hate
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, the swamp monster episode The Spanish Moss Murders
1975 Switch unknown role episode Death Heist
1976 Starsky and Hutch Iggy episode Omaha Tiger
1975 –
Barbary Coast Moose Moran unknown episode, 1975–1976
1977 Land of the Lost Malak Third Season – "Survival Kit", "Flying Dutchman"
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Manager – 'Haunted House' 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 The Greatest American Hero mutant episode Heaven Is In Your Genes
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 #5: Fangs for the Memories

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2004 James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing Jaws Voice work
2012 007 Legends Jaws Likeness only

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peary, Danny (1991). Cult movie stars. Simon & Schuster. p. 291. ISBN 0-671-74924-2. 
  2. ^ Celebrity birthdates, Sept 9 - 15
  3. ^ "The Den of Geek interview: Richard Kiel". Den of Geek. 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  4. ^ "The Den of Geek interview: Richard Kiel". Den of Geek. 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2010-10-06. 
  5. ^ Actor Richard Kiel taught math at Ogden's Radio School in '63
  6. ^ Kiel, Richard. "Richard Kiel's Testimony". Official Richard Kiel Fan Club. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 

External links[edit]