Kiel, Richard: Bond Villain Dies at 74

Richard Kiel, who played Jaws in two James Bond films starring Roger Moore, “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker,” and also appeared in Adam Sandler comedy “Happy Gilmore,” died Wednesday afternoon in a hospital in Fresno, Calif., three days shy of his 75th birthday.

The actor had broken his leg earlier in the week, but it is not clear whether that contributed to his death.

Kiel had lent his voice to a James Bond videogame in 2003 but more recently had voiced Vlad for the animated film “Tangled” in 2010.

Kiel’s villainous Jaws was so popular with movie audiences who saw “The Spy Who Loved Me” that the character was made sympathetic in follow-up  “Moonraker.”

Before his appearances in the Bond film in the mid to late ’70s, Kiel was perhaps best known for his roles in Burt Reynolds prison football film “The Longest Yard” and for appearing in several episodes of “The Wild Wild West” as an assistant to super-villain Miguelito Loveless (the diminutive Michael Dunn).

Younger audiences knew him best from “Happy Gilmore,” in which he played a golf spectator who threatens the villainous Shooter McGavin.

Kiel stood 7 feet 1.5 inches tall in his prime. His height and distinctive features were the result of acromegaly, a hormonal condition.

In 1962 the actor played the title role in “Eegah,” beloved by fans of extraordinarily bad movies.

The same year Kiel starred “To Serve a Man,” a classic episode of “Twilight Zone” in which he played Kanamit. A few years later he appeared on “The Monkees.”

In the 1970s he continued to appear on television. He was a series regular on the William Shatner-Doug McClure series “Barbary Coast,” and he was an evil Native American shapeshifter who terrorizes Darren McGavin’s character in “The Night Stalker.”

The actor’s autobiography, “Making It Big in the Movies,” was published in 2002.