Richard Kiel has died aged 74. The actor, known for playing the metal-toothed villain Jaws in the James Bond movies ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ (1977) and ‘Moonraker’ (1979), passed away yesterday (10.09.14) at the Saint Agnes Medical Centre in Fresno, California, just three days before his 75th birthday. A spokesperson for the centre has confirmed the news but details surrounding the cause of death are yet to be released. Richard – who stood at 7ft 2in – starred opposite Sir Roger Moore in the Ian Fleming penned franchise – and recently appeared with the veteran actor and their co-star Britt Ekland on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Reunion’ which aired on Sunday (07.09.14). During the program, he admitted there were parts about his infamous character – who is often seen killing his adversaries with his teeth – which he worried would seem ”over the top” to viewers.
Richard explained: ”I was very put off by the description of the character and I thought, well, they don’t really need an actor, he’s more a monster part. So I tried to change that view of it… I said if I were to play the part, I want to give the character some human characteristics, like perseverance, frustration.”
However, Jaws – who was due to be killed off at the end of ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ – become so popular with fans that writers were forced to bring him back for a second time.
He said: ”The original script had me being killed by the shark. They filmed that and they also filmed an ending where I survive and pop out of the ocean. That was one of the big moments for me, watching the blue-collar screening of the movie, The Spy Who Loved Me, and having the reaction of the crowd at the theater when Jaws popped out of the ocean, survived and swam away. There were hoots and howling, applause. I couldn’t believe it.”
Richard is survived by his wife Diane, four children and nine grandchildren.