Remembered best as Jaws, the towering steel-toothed villain of James Bond movies, Richard Kiel has passed away at the age of 74. No cause of death was given. The news was confirmed late Wednesday evening by Kelley Sanchez, director of communications at Saint Agnes Medical Center. Richard Kiel's agent Steven Stevens also reported on the news, both parties refusing to provide further details.
Richard Kiel was a giant of a man, standing at 7-foot-2-inches. He captured the public's attention in the 1977 James Bond adventure The Spy Who Loved Me opposite Roger Moore. Jaws was a cable-chomping henchman who towered over his co-stars. The villain was so popular, he was brought back for the 1979 Bond adventure Moonraker. Of his advisory, Bond would quip, "His name's Jaws. He kills people."
The role of Jaws was an iconic one that Richard Kiel could never seem to get away from. Despite this, he landed plenty of roles in various TV shows and movies, including 60's spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the The Longest Yard starring Burt Reynolds. Following his stint as Jaws, he appeared opposite Harrison Ford in Force 10 from Navarone and reteamed with Burt Reynolds in Cannonball Run II.
Adam Sandler brought the actor back to the big screen in the 1996 comedy Happy Gilmore. At the time, many fans thought the actor had already passed away as he was rumored to be suffering from a rare disease, which was not true. He would later take a voice role in Disney's 2010 animated family adventure Tangled. He last appeared in the indie comedy The Engagement Ring, which is still awaiting release.
About his work as Jaws, Richard Kiel said last year:
"To this day, I go out in sunglasses and a hat because people will shout 'Hey, Jaws!'The only way I can explain it is that he's like the Road Runner, which Coyote keeps trying to blow up, but he keeps going."
In later years, Richard Kiel would reprise his role as Jaws in several James Bond video games. In 2002, he published his autobiography "Making It Big in the Movies."
Richard Kiel is survived by his wife Diane Rogers, four children, and nine grand children.