Richard Kiel

Richard Kiel

Born Richard Dawson Kiel[1]
(1939-09-13)September 13, 1939[2]
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died September 10, 2014(2014-09-10) (aged 74)
Fresno, California, United States
Cause of death Heart attack
Resting place Belmont Memorial Park, Fresno, California, United States
Nationality American
Occupation Actor, voice artist, comedian
Years active 1960–2014
Notable credit(s) Jaws in the James Bond films
Height 7 ft 1.5 in (2.17 m)
Religion Christianity
Spouse(s) Faye Daniels (m. 1960; div. 1973)
Diane Rogers (m. 1974)
Children 4

Richard Dawson Kiel (September 13, 1939 – September 10, 2014) was an American actor, voice artist, and comedian, best 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), Pale Rider (1985) and Tangled (2010).

In television, Kiel portrayed the Kanamit alien in the now-classic The Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man" (1962) and Dr. Miguelito Loveless' assistant, Voltaire, in first-season episodes of The Wild Wild West (1965-1966).


Keil with Tenille Dashwood, 2014

Kiel made his acting debut in the Laramie episode "Street of Hate". He also acted in an unaired TV pilot featuring Lee Falk's superhero The Phantom, where Kiel portrayed an assassin called Big Mike.

Before film and television, Kiel worked in numerous jobs, including a nightclub bouncer and a cemetery plot salesman.[3]

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. Kiel appeared as the towering — and lethal — assistant Voltaire to Dr. Miguelito Loveless in first-season episodes of The Wild, Wild West. He later appeared in the episode "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. This episode is significant because it allowed Kiel the opportunity to really act rather than just look intimidating. Kiel also had a cameo role in a 1961 episode of The Rifleman.

From 1963 to 1965, Kiel worked as a night school math instructor in Burbank, California.[4]

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").

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kiel were the original choices to portray the title character in The Incredible Hulk. Schwarzenegger was turned down due to his height. Kiel participated in the filming of the pilot. During the shoot, producers decided their Hulk needed to be muscular rather than just towering, and Kiel was dismissed because he possessed more body fat than the producers deemed necessary. According to a Den of Geek interview,[3] Kiel, who saw properly out of only one eye, also reacted badly to the contact lenses used for the role, and found the green makeup difficult to remove, so he did not mind losing the part. All recognizable footage of Kiel was cut, except one scene where the Hulk saves the little girl from drowning; the scenes were then reshot with Lou Ferrigno.

He appeared on many other television episodes, such as Laramie, I Dream of Jeannie, Honey West, Gilligan's Island, The Monkees, Daniel Boone, Emergency!, Starsky & Hutch, Land of the Lost, The Fall Guy, and Simon & Simon, and "Kolchak: The Night Stalker".

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). He reprised his role of Jaws in the video game called James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, supplying his voice and likeness. Prior to becoming Jaws, Kiel gave a similarly menacing performance as another metal-toothed villain, Reace, in Silver Streak (1976).

While Kiel's roles as Jaws and Reace 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. The most memorable of these, arguably, comes when Shooter insults Larson by saying "Oh, you can count - good for you", to which Larson replies "And you can count - on me waiting for you in the parking lot!"

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.

Kiel's IMDb page indicates that he filmed a role for Gary T. Smith's indie film The Engagement Ring, although no production update has occurred since Kiel's passing.

Personal life

Kiel at the 2004 Collectormania

Kiel was born in Detroit, Michigan. His height and features were a result of a hormonal condition known as acromegaly.[5] In his prime, Kiel stood 7 feet 1½ inches (217 cm) tall. He noted in his 2002 autobiography Making It Big in the Movies that he used to state that he was 7 feet 2 inches (218.44 cm), because it was easier to remember. He suffered from acrophobia (fear of heights), and during the cable car stunt scenes in Moonraker, a stunt double was used because Kiel refused to be filmed on the top of a cable car over 2000 feet (607 m) above the ground.

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). Afterwards, Kiel used a scooter or wheelchair.

After his first marriage ended in divorce, Kiel was married to Diane Rogers for 40 years,[2] and at the time of his death, had four children, and nine grandchildren. He co-authored a biography of the abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay called Kentucky Lion. Kiel was also a born-again Christian. His website states that his religious conversion helped him to overcome alcoholism.[6]


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]


Kiel as Eegah in the eponymous film, 1962


Year Title Role Notes
1961 The Phantom Planet The Solarite
1962 Eegah Eegah
1963 30 Minutes at Gunsight Uncredited
1963 House of the Damned Giant
1963 The Nutty Professor Bodybuilder #1 Uncredited
1964 Roustabout Strong Man Uncredited
1964 The Nasty Rabbit Ranch Foreman Uncredited
1965 Two on a Guillotine Tall Man at Funeral
1965 The Human Duplicators Dr. Kolos
1965 Brainstorm Psychiatric Hospital Patient Uncredited
1965 Lassie's Great Adventure Chinook Pete
1966 The Las Vegas Hillbillys Moose
1967 A Man Called Dagger
1968 Now You See It, Now You Don't Nori
1968 Skidoo Beany
1970 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Blacksmith Uncredited
1972 Deadhead Miles Unknown role
1974 The Longest Yard Samson
1976 Flash and the Firecat Tracker
1976 Gus Large Man
1976 Silver Streak Reace
1977 The Spy Who Loved Me Jaws
1977 The Incredible Hulk The Hulk One scene
1978 Force 10 from Navarone Captain Drazak
1978 They Went That-A-Way & That-A-Way Duke
1979 The Humanoid Golob
1979 Moonraker Jaws Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1981 So Fine Eddie
1983 Hysterical Captain Howdy
1983 Phoenix Steel Hand
1984 Aces Go Places 3 Jaws
1984 Cannonball Run II Arnold / Mitsubishi Driver
1985 Qing bao long hu men Laszlo
1985 Pale Rider Club
1989 The Princess and the Dwarf Unknown role
1990 Think Big Irving
1991 The Giant of Thunder Mountain Eli Weaver
1996 Happy Gilmore Mr. Larson
1999 Inspector Gadget Jaws
2009 The Awakened Jasper
2010 The Corpse of Albert Cradette Albert Cradette
2010 Tangled Vladimir Voice work


Kiel as Ali with Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman in I Dream of Jeannie, 1965
Kiel as Voltaire with Michael Dunn in The Wild Wild West, 1966
Year Title Role Notes
1960 Klondike Duff Brannigan Episode: "Bare Knuckles"
1961 Laramie Rake - Tolan's helper (uncredited) Episode: "Run of the Hunted"
1961 The Phantom Big Mike
1961 Thriller Master Styx Episode: "Well of Doom"
1961 The Rifleman Carl Hazlitt Episode: "The Decision"
1962 The Twilight Zone Kanamit Episode: "To Serve Man"
1964 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Henchman for Mr. Vulcan Episode: "The Vulcan Affair"
1965 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Merry Episode: "The Hong Kong Shilling Affair"
1965 I Dream of Jeannie Ali Episode: "My Hero"
1966 Honey West Groalgo Episode: "King of the Mountain"
1966 My Mother the Car Cracks Episode: "A Riddler on the Roof"
1966 The Wild Wild West Voltaire Episodes: "The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth"
1965: "The Night That Terror Stalked the Town"
1965: "The Night of the Whirring Death"
1966 Gilligan's Island Ghost Episode: Ghost-a-Go-Go"
1967 The Monkees Monster Episode: "I Was a Teenage Monster"
1967 The Monroes Casmir Episode: "Ghosts of Paradox"
1968 I Spy Tiny Episode: "A Few Miles West of Nowhere"
1968 The Wild Wild West Dimas Episode: "The Night of the Simian Terror"
1968 It Takes a Thief Willie Trion Episode: "The Galloping Skin Game"
1969 Daniel Boone Le Mouche Episode: "Benvenuto...Who?"
1970 Disneyland Luke Brown Episode: "The Boy Who Stole the Elephant: Part 1 & 2"
1974 Kolchak: The Night Stalker The Diablero Episode: "Bad Medicine"
1974 Emergency! Carlo Episode: "I'll Fix It"
1974 Kolchak: The Night Stalker Peremalfait Episode: "The Spanish Moss Murders"
1975 Switch Unknown role Episode: "Death Heist"
1976 Starsky & Hutch Iggy Episode: "Omaha Tiger"
1975 – 1976 Barbary Coast Moose Moran 14 episodes, 1975–1976
1977 Land of the Lost Malak Episodes: "Survival Kit"
"Flying Dutchman"
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Manager Episode: "The Mystery of the Haunted House"
1977 Young Dan'l Boone Unknown role Episode: "The Game"
1981 The Fall Guy Animal Episode: "That's Right, We're Bad"
1983 Simon & Simon Mark Horton Episode: "The Skeleton Who Came Out of the Closet"
1988 Out of This World Norman Episode: "Go West, Young Mayor"
1989 Superboy Vlkabok Episode: "Mr. and Mrs. Superboy"
2000 Bloodhounds Inc. Mortimer Episode: "Fangs for the Memories"

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
1997 GoldenEye 007 Jaws Likeness only
2000 The World Is Not Enough Jaws Likeness only, Nintendo 64 version only
2000 007 Racing Jaws Archival footage
2004 James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing Jaws Voice work
2010 GoldenEye 007 (2010) Jaws Likeness only
2012 007 Legends Jaws Likeness only

See also


  1. 1 2 Weber, Bruce (11 September 2014). "Richard Kiel Dies at 74; Played Jaws in Bond Films". The New York Times.
  2. 1 2 "Richard Kiel obituary". The Guardian (UK). 11 September 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  3. 1 2 "The Den of Geek interview: Richard Kiel". Den of Geek. January 6, 2009.
  4. Actor Richard Kiel taught math at Ogden's Radio School in '63
  5. "Why Was This Woman Gaining Weight Despite Her Diet?". Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  6. Kiel, Richard. "Richard Kiel's Testimony". Official Richard Kiel Fan Club. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  7. "Bond Villain Died Of Heart Disease". TMZ. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
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