Passed away this day in 2014
Jaws in Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me
Richard Dawson Kiel was a difficult person to miss. Born in Detroit in 1939, Kiel got his start in acting as an Ugly Marine (uncredited) in the military drama The D.I. in 1957. At 7’ 2” tall, he often placed characters focused on his tall stature. He was cast in several televisions and movies that included The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Gilligan’s Island, The Monkees, and The Wild Wild West.
He got his break in 1977 as Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me, opposite Sir Roger Moore and returned in 1979’s Moonraker to reprise his role. Although he was well recognize as that character, after the Bond films, Kiel went back to guest appearing on television and in films. Apparently, Kiel declined the role of Chewbacca because he felt he more opportunities in the Jaws role.
In 1991, Kiel wrote and produced The Giant of Thunder Mountain, a family film that garnered he quite a bit of viewer praise. However, the following year, Kiel was in an auto accident that affected his balance, so thereafter he needed assistance with walking.
Kiel’s attachment to the Bond franchise as Jaws was rejuvenated through a newer medium: the video game market. In 1997, his likeness was used in GoldenEye 007. In 2004, he lent his voice in James Bond 007: Everything or Northing. In all, he was involved in six games.
I met Kiel a couple of times at Bond reunions hosted by the Hollywood Collector’s Show in Burbank and Los Angeles. On both occasions, he was exceeding kind and friendly. It was very sad to hear the news last year when he passed.
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