James Bond Villain Richard Kiel Dies at 74

Richard Kiel Dead: James Bond Villain

Richard Kiel, who most famously played Jaws in two James Bond films starring Roger Moore, “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker,” and also appeared in Adam Sandler comedy “Happy Gilmore,” died Wednesday afternoon in a hospital in Fresno, Calif., three days shy of his 75th birthday.

TMZ first reported the news.

The actor had broken his leg earlier in the week, but it is not clear whether that contributed to his death.

Kiel had lent his voice to a James Bond videogame in 2003 but more recently had voiced Vlad for the animated film “Tangled” in 2010.

Kiel’s villainous Jaws was so popular with movie audiences who saw “The Spy Who Loved Me” that the character was made sympathetic in follow-up  “Moonraker.”

Before his appearances in the Bond film in the mid to late ’70s, Kiel was perhaps best known for his roles in Burt Reynolds prison football film “The Longest Yard” and for appearing in several episodes of “The Wild Wild West” as an assistant to super-villain Miguelito Loveless (the diminutive Michael Dunn).

Younger audiences knew him best from “Happy Gilmore,” in which he played a golf spectator who threatens the villainous Shooter McGavin.

Kiel stood 7 feet 1.5 inches tall in his prime. His height and distinctive features were the result of acromegaly, a hormonal condition.

In 1962 the actor played the title role in “Eegah,” beloved by fans of extraordinarily bad movies.

The same year Kiel starred “To Serve Man,” a classic episode of “Twilight Zone” in which he played Kanamit. A few years later he appeared on “The Monkees.”

In the 1970s he continued to appear on television. He was a series regular on the William Shatner-Doug McClure series “Barbary Coast,” and he was an evil Native American shapeshifter who terrorizes Darren McGavin’s character in “The Night Stalker.”

The actor’s autobiography, “Making It Big in the Movies,” was published in 2002.





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  1. Natalie says:

    A Gentle Giant, claimed he loved working on the Monkees set, it was a fun and fantastic set to be on!

  2. Detail — that Twilght Zone episode was called “To Serve Man” not “To Serve A Man” … Kiel struck an impressive profile and anyone who ever saw him, never forgot. RIP dear man.

  3. Ken says:

    MOONRAKER (1979) – arguably the lamest, campiest, most unbelievable and ludicrous entry in the entire Bond canon – was made tolerable somewhat by Kiel’s space-bound “Jaws” and his idiotic pig-tailed girlfriend. He turned it into a real laff-fest. How anybody could take this franchise seriously after THAT one has always made me shake my head… Anyhow, God bless him.

  4. I met him once in a small church in Florida and again at DragonCon 2001. I had a Polaroid taken with him at DragonCon which he signed. Yes, he charged $10 but that was fine, especially since he provided the camera. When I left the room, someone bumped my elbow and the picture went flying. I started searching for it and he saw me and asked me what I had lost, and he very graciously replaced it at no charge. It was about that time that another actor who was also signing autographs saw him, got a big grin and announced that Richard Kiel had been one of his inspirations to becoming an actor, and then git in line to get an autograph as well. Kiel wanted to do some children’s religious movies but could never get the funding. He let his fame get to him and became an alcoholic, but decided to place his family first and overcame it. Big man, big heart.

  5. CK says:

    I met Mr. Kiel a few times at Chiller Theatre conventions in NJ. He was really nice and had some good stories. RIP Mr. Kiel.

  6. Teressa says:

    RIchard Kiel was our official Spokesperson here at Central Spy Shop. He will be truly missed as he was a good friend to us. Our condolences go out to his fans, friends and family…

  7. Charlie says:

    Rip Richard. I met you once in your home town. You were a very genuine person, and I’m glad to have met you.

  8. Jenny Feddish says:

    Watch out for snakes! You’ll have a dear place in every mstie heart for all time.

  9. Jenny feddish says:

    Watch out for snakes!

  10. G says:

    Cannonball Run 2…alongside Jackie Chan…

  11. Mjkbk says:

    That pop-culture classic episode of “The Twilight Zone” was entitled ‘To Serve Man’ (NOT To Serve a Man). Talk about demolishing the entire twist with a single “a”……

    I almost forgot how young Richard Kiel looked in that one, even in alien makeup.

    RIP, sir.

  12. Maria Rodriguez says:

    I met Richard about 24 yrs ago when I worked @ Campus Copies by Fresno State & @ the old Cornerstone also in Fresno he was such a GREAT MAN he had a big heart as big as he was I’m very saddened 2 day prayer go out 2 his family & friends

  13. Centurian says:

    The Longest Yard. “I think I broke his freakin neck” Priceless

    • debgood88 says:

      Richard Kiel was a local here in the Fresno area. I went to hear him speak at a church many years ago. My Mother worked at Fresno Ag Hardware and said she used to see him in there shopping from time to time. He was also a friend of a friend of mine, and Alan Autry spoke very highly of him. He’ll be missed.

  14. stech says:

    um.. butch cassidy and the sundance kid?

  15. Rusty says:

    He was also Voltaire, Dr. Loveless’ lackey in the old Wild Wild West series

  16. Rosemary R says:

    I thought they said he died about a decade or more ago. Great actor he wll always be remembered as JAWS!

  17. Ron Holmstrom says:

    I had the pleasure of knowing Richard a little when I lived and worked in Hollywood. What a nice guy he was.

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