A Fond Farewell to Richard Kiel

Richard Kiel

It is very sad when actors or other famous people pass away, especially if you had met them personally or grown up with their art influencing your life. I have always loved the James Bond franchise, both the books and the movies, and grew up with several different actors playing the role. While James Bond is an iconic character, he would be nothing with the villains that drove him to greatness.

This morning I read that Richard Kiel, the actor who played Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker had passed away at age 74. According to MSN.com, Kiel had been admitted to the hospital last with with a broken leg. Reports say that his death on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, was not related to the injury.

Richard KielNot only was Richard Kiel one of the best and most memorable of all Bond Villains as the metal mouthed monster, he also played in one of my all-time favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone, “To Serve Man”. The 7 -foot, 2 inch tall actor was perfect to play the part of Kanamit, one of the aliens who comes to Earth and brings all sorts of goodness to mankind. In return, all they ask is that some of the humans return with them to their planet. As the scientists work to translate the book “To Serve Man”, they realize, too late, that is is not some great book of knowledge, but a cookbook. The play on words was awesome, but even more amazing was the shift of how the aliens were all benevolent and helpful. Once that understanding is there, you can see the sinister nature of the beings.

Acting in many films, TV shows, and commercials, Kiel had a very prolific career. According to his testimony (which is a must read!), he was acting for 17 years before he really “got famous” for his role as the villainous henchman Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me playing opposite Roger Moore as James Bond in 1977. His long career includes numerous films including The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds and Happy Gilmore with Adam Sandler, and even more TV shows including I Dream of Jeannie, Wlid, Wild West, and even playing the Incredible Hulk one time in the original TV series. Often cast as a giant, a thug, or some sort of imposing figure, probably because he was over 7 feet tall, he was a man whose faith in God helped him deal with alcoholism and really changed his outlook on life as an actor, a father, and what he represented.

Richard KielRichard Kiel is the second Bond villain to pass away recently. Gottfried John, the actor who played General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov in Goldeneye in 1995, died at the age of 72 on September 1, 2014 after a battle with cancer.

Our condolences go out to the families of these men and we thank them for their work in bringing great characters to the screen. For Richard Kiel, it was more about bringing great character to his role than bringing great characters and it showed through in everything he did. It was about 13 years about at the Pittsburgh Comic Con that I met Richard Kiel, he was quite the imposing person, but such a nice guy to talk to and loved to have fun with the kids, putting them in fake headlocks for pictures and just being a gentle and easy going person in all his dealings.

Farewell, Jaws, as in Moonraker, you have escaped the pains of this life and gone on to a better place.

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