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Out of all of the James Bond henchmen to grace the screen in combat with 007, only one has been popular enough that audience demand brought him back for another round. We're of course talking about the infamous Jaws, a character brought to life by actor Richard Kiel in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. It is our sad duty to inform you that Kiel has passed away as of this afternoon. The cause of death is yet unknown; but Kiel was in the hospital for an injury he sustained that may or may not be connected. He was 74.
Variety broke the news of Kiel's passing, as well as the fact that in three days it would have been his 75th birthday. Yet in his 74 years, and countless roles in television and movies, he was best known for merely looking menacing as he tried to kill Roger Moore. While that's not a legacy to be ashamed of, it is interesting that Richard Kiel is mostly known as "that guy with the teeth from the Bond movies" or "that guy from Happy Gilmore, as seen below.
The rich history of roles in his filmography include parts such as a fellow inmate in the Burt Reynolds version of The Longest Yard, the voice of Vlad in Tangled, and a slew of guest spots and recurring roles on classic shows like Gilligan's Island and Wild Wild West. Before his film and television career, Richard Kiel had held such jobs as cemetery plot salesman and night school math instructor, before taking the role that would jumpstart his career in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me. Interestingly enough, he was originally cast as TV's version of The Incredible Hulk, before the producers decided to replace him with the more muscular Lou Ferrigno. One could only imagine how different the James Bond landscape would have been without Kiel's menacing smiler.
While his career was as diverse as his life experiences, perhaps the reason we remember Richard Kiel so well as Jaws is because with little to no dialogue he scared the living daylights out of us. His imposing appearance and a set of fake metal teeth were all he needed to perform a vital role in the 52-year-old franchise's history. No matter what happens with the franchise on a whole, there's no history of James Bond complete without mentioning that angry man with the suspenders and killer bite.
Our thoughts go out to Richard Kiel's family in this difficult time.