Richard Kiel

Richard Dawson Kiel (September 13, 1939 – September 10, 2014)[1] was an American actor and voice artist. Standing 7 ft 2 in (218 cm) tall, he was known for his role as Jaws in the James Bond franchise, portraying the character in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979); he lampooned the role with a tongue-in-cheek cameo in Inspector Gadget (1999). His next-most recognized role is the tough but eloquent Mr. Larson in Happy Gilmore (1996). Other notable films include The Longest Yard (1974), Silver Streak (1976), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Cannonball Run II (1984), Pale Rider (1985) and Tangled (2010).

Richard Kiel
Kiel in 2004
Richard Dawson Kiel

(1939-09-13)September 13, 1939
DiedSeptember 10, 2014(2014-09-10) (aged 74)
Resting placeBelmont Memorial Park, Fresno, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, voice artist
Years active1960–2014
Notable credit(s)
Jaws in the James Bond films
Height7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)
  • Faye Daniels
    (m. 1960; div. 1973)
  • Diane Rogers (m. 1974)

Early life

Kiel was born in Detroit, Michigan.[2] His extraordinary height was a result of acromegaly, a condition caused by an excess of growth hormone.[3] Before becoming an actor, 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 mathematics instructor in Burbank, California.[5]



Kiel made his acting debut in the Laramie episode "Street of Hate". This led to him appearing in many television shows throughout the 1960s and 1970s such as I Dream of Jeannie, Honey West, Gilligan's Island, The Monkees, Daniel Boone, Emergency!, Starsky & Hutch, Land of the Lost, The Fall Guy, Simon & Simon, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and the memorable The Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man".

Due to size, Kiel was often cast in villainous roles. He appeared as the towering — and lethal — assistant Voltaire to Dr. Miguelito Loveless in first-season episodes of The Wild, Wild West. In the Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Vulcan Affair", Kiel appeared as a guard in Vulcan's plant and he portrayed Merry in "The Hong Kong Shilling Affair". In 1967 he played a monster in an episode of The Monkees ("I was a Teenage Monster").

He later appeared in an episode of The Wild Wild West titled "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. The episode first aired February 16, 1968. This episode is significant because it allowed Kiel the opportunity to really act rather than just look intimidating.

In 1977 Kiel and Arnold Schwarzenegger were both considered for playing the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk. After Schwarzenegger was turned down due to his height, Kiel started filming the pilot. However, the producers quickly decided they wanted a more muscular Hulk rather than the towering Kiel so he was dismissed. Kiel later said he did not mind losing the part because as he could only see out of one eye, he reacted badly to the contact lenses he had to wear for the role. He also found the green makeup unpleasant and difficult to remove.[4] His scenes were then reshot with Lou Ferrigno.


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. He also had a brief non-speaking appearance leaving a gym in the Jerry Lewis movie The Nutty Professor.

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). However, as he suffered from acrophobia (fear of heights), a stunt double was used during the cable car stunt scenes because Kiel refused to be filmed on the top of a cable car more than 2,000 feet (610 m) above the ground. He reprised his role of Jaws in the video game called James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, supplying his voice and likeness. This was his second outing as a metal-toothed villain because he had played Reace in the 1976 comedy-thriller film Silver Streak, a year before being cast in The Spy Who Loved Me. Kiel also played in the 1985 film Pale Rider. Acting as the main antagonist's henchman, he redeems his character's status by saving the hero from a gunshot to the back.

Although earlier roles had offered him little dialogue, his role in Happy Gilmore (1996) was quite the opposite. As Mr. Larson, Happy Gilmore's former employer, Kiel exchanges several one-liners with both Adam Sandler's Happy and Christopher McDonald's Shooter. Kiel took a quieter profile after Happy Gilmore's release, but left semi-retirement to record a role for Tangled (2010). In the acclaimed animated Disney film, he portrayed Vlad, a surprisingly soft-hearted thug who collects ceramic unicorns.

Personal life

Kiel's first marriage was to Faye Daniels in 1960. They divorced in the early 1970s. He later married Diane Rogers. They had four children and nine grandchildren.[2] He co-authored a biography of the abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay called Kentucky Lion. Kiel was also a born-again Christian. His website states his religious conversion helped him to overcome alcoholism.[6]


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). Later, Kiel used a scooter or wheelchair.


On September 10, 2014, three days short of his 75th birthday, Kiel died at St. Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, California, of a heart attack, possibly caused by coronary artery disease.[1][7]



1960The D.I.Ugly MarineUncredited
1961Run of the HuntedToland's AssistantUncredited
1961The Phantom PlanetThe Solarite
1963House of the DamnedGiant
1963The Nutty ProfessorBodybuilder #1Uncredited
1963Lassie's Great AdventureChinook Pete
196330 Minutes at GunsightTv Short
1964RoustaboutStrong ManUncredited
1964The Nasty RabbitRanch ForemanUncredited
1965Two on a GuillotineTall Man at FuneralUncredited
1965The Human DuplicatorsDr. Kolos
1965BrainstormPsychiatric Hospital PatientUncredited
1966The Las Vegas HillbillysMoose
1967A Man Called DaggerOtto
1968Now You See It, Now You Don'tNoriTV Movie
1970On a Clear Day You Can See ForeverBlacksmithUncredited
1973Deadhead MilesBig Dick
1974The Longest YardSamson
1975Flash and the FirecatTracker
1976GusLarge Man
1976Silver StreakReace
1977The Spy Who Loved MeJaws
1977The Incredible Hulk0TV Series, One scene, Uncredited
1978Wu zi tian shiSteel Hand
1978Force 10 from NavaroneCaptain Drazak
1978They Went That-A-Way & That-A-WayDuke
1979The HumanoidGolob
1979MoonrakerJawsNominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1981So FineEddie
1983HystericalCaptain Howdy
1983PhoenixSteel Hand
1984Aces Go Places 3Big G
1984Cannonball Run IIArnold / Mitsubishi Driver
1985Pale RiderClub
1985Qing bao long hu menLaszlo
1989Think BigIrving
1989The Princess and the DwarfUnknown role
1991The Giant of Thunder MountainEli Weaver
1996Happy GilmoreMr. Larson
1999Inspector GadgetJaws
2009The AwakenedJasper
2010The Corpse of Albert CradetteAlbert Cradette


1960KlondikeDuff BranniganEpisode: "Bare Knuckles"
1961LaramieRake - Tolan's helperEpisode: "Run of the Hunted", Uncredited
1961The PhantomBig Mike
1961ThrillerMaster StyxEpisode: "Well of Doom"
1961The RiflemanCarl HazlittEpisode: "The Decision"
1962The Twilight ZoneKanamitEpisode: "To Serve Man"
1964The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Henchman for Mr. VulcanEpisode: "The Vulcan Affair"
1965The Man from U.N.C.L.E.MerryEpisode: "The Hong Kong Shilling Affair"
1965I Dream of JeannieAliEpisode: "My Hero"
1966Honey WestGroalgoEpisode: "King of the Mountain"
1966My Mother the CarCracksEpisode: "A Riddler on the Roof"
1966The Wild Wild WestVoltaireEpisodes: "The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth"
1965: "The Night That Terror Stalked the Town"
1965: "The Night of the Whirring Death"
1966Gilligan's IslandGhostEpisode: Ghost-a-Go-Go"
1967The MonkeesMonsterEpisode: "I Was a Teenage Monster"
1967The MonroesCasmirEpisode: "Ghosts of Paradox"
1968I SpyTinyEpisode: "A Few Miles West of Nowhere"
1968The Wild Wild WestDimasEpisode: "The Night of the Simian Terror"
1968It Takes a ThiefWillie TrionEpisode: "The Galloping Skin Game"
1969Daniel BooneLe MoucheEpisode: "Benvenuto...Who?"
1970DisneylandLuke BrownEpisode: "The Boy Who Stole the Elephant: Part 1 & 2"
1974Kolchak: The Night StalkerThe DiableroEpisode: "Bad Medicine"
1974Emergency!CarloEpisode: "I'll Fix It"
1974Kolchak: The Night StalkerThe "Père malfait"Episode: "The Spanish Moss Murders"
1975SwitchLoachEpisode: "Death Heist"
1976Starsky & HutchIggyEpisode: "Omaha Tiger"
1975 – 1976Barbary CoastMoose Moran14 episodes, 1975–1976
1977Land of the LostMalakEpisodes: "Survival Kit"
"Flying Dutchman"
1977The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew MysteriesManagerEpisode: "The Mystery of the Haunted House"
1977Young Dan'l BooneUnknown roleEpisode: "The Game"
1981The Fall GuyAnimalEpisode: "That's Right, We're Bad"
1983Simon & SimonMark HortonEpisode: "The Skeleton Who Came Out of the Closet"
1988Out of This WorldNormanEpisode: "Go West, Young Mayor"
1989SuperboyVlkabokEpisode: "Mr. and Mrs. Superboy"
2000Bloodhounds Inc.MortimerEpisode: "Fangs for the Memories"

Video games

1997GoldenEye 007JawsLikeness only
1998James Bond 007Jaws
2000007: The World Is Not EnoughJawsLikeness only
2000007 RacingJawsArchival footage
2004James Bond 007: Everything or NothingJawsVoice work
2010GoldenEye 007JawsLikeness only
2012007 LegendsJawsLikeness only

See also


  1. Weber, Bruce (September 11, 2014). "Richard Kiel Dies at 74; Played Jaws in Bond Films". The New York Times.
  2. "Richard Kiel obituary". The Guardian (UK). September 11, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  3. "Why Was This Woman Gaining Weight Despite Her Diet?". Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  4. "The Den of Geek interview: Richard Kiel". Den of Geek. January 6, 2009.
  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 August 16, 2010.
  7. "Bond Villain Died Of Heart Disease". TMZ. October 9, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
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