Website last updated: 8-12-2016

10 SEPTEMBER 2014
AMERICAN ACTOR RICHARD KIEL (1939-2014)

By: Anders Frejdh
Published:
2014-09-11
FSWL are extremely saddened to report the passing of Richard Kiel, aged 74. Richard played the enourmosly popular role of Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979) (1979). Our thoughts and prayers goes out to Richard's family.
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Update 14-10-2014: FSWL celebrated Richard at two occasions during our James Bond festival in Stockholm on 19-21 September 2014.
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Richard's family sent the following statement:

It is with very heavy hearts that we announce that Richard has passed away, just three days shy of his 75th birthday. Richard had an amazing joy for life and managed to live every single day to the fullest. Though most people knew of him through his screen persona, those who were close to him knew what a kind and generous soul he was. His family was the most important thing in his life and we are happy that his last days were spent surrounded by family and close friends. Though his passing was somewhat unexpected, his health had been declining in recent years. It is nice to think that he can, once again, stand tall over us all.

With love,
The Kiel Family

A few comments about Richard's passing:

"Extremely sad and devastated over the terrible news that dear Richard has passed away. He was truly a gentle giant with a huge heart (both literally and in real life), a genuine gentleman who treated everyone with respect as well as long-time supporter of From Sweden with Love.

As a friend of the family, my heartfelt thoughts and condolences goes out to Diane, Jennifer, Bennett & Chris and the rest of the family at this very tragic moment. Having lost my mother I know how you feel but you should all know that your father was so proud of you and always spoke fondly about you. RIP Richard, I will never forget you and the shared experiences we had. I will always love you." – Anders Frejdh, founder of FSWL

"Richard was wise, kind, and a true gentleman. He was a joy to work with and to know. Though I only worked with him on MOONRAKER, the Bond family often reunites for various events and therefore Richard Kiel remained a part of my life long after filming ended. He was a family man so the "Bond family" suited him perfectly and he took great care of us. He will be missed by all!!" – Lois Chiles, Holly Goodhead in Moonraker

"He was a pleasure to have met and worked with, a gentle giant. A very normal person who enjoyed telling the stories of his life, how he got into movies and his appreciation of what the role of Jaws did for him. I shall always treasure his time and presence on the James Bonds."
Martin Grace (from our interview with him in 2010)

"Richard was a kind and thoughtful friend, much loved by his fans around the globe, yet his proudest achievement was his family. He will be sorely missed by us all.” – Maud Adams, friend

Richard Kiel on David Letterman's show in 1985:


About Richard Kiel:
Richard was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA. And despite what you might think, was a perfectly normal-sized young boy until he experienced a sudden growth spurt in his teens.

Richard has been described as the gentle giant of the film business, with his 7’ 2” frame. In fact Roger Moore said of Richard: “The only things greater than his height are his heart and intelligence”.

Aside from acting, Richard is an accomplished writer and producer. In the early 90's he co-wrote and executive-produced The Giant of Thunder Mountain (1991). A film he brought in under budget and ahead of schedule, and furthermore, it was awarded the Film Advisory Board’s Family Film Award Of Excellence.

It is, however, true to say that Richard is remembered most famously as Jaws, the deadly henchman in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979). His return in the second adventure was due to stunt co-ordinator Bob Simmons suggesting that as the character proved so popular, it might be wise to let him survive!

It took Richard 18 years as a struggling actor to become an overnight success with the Bond film!

Richard was originally cast as the Incredible Hulk for the tv series, though make-up problems (he is blind in one eye, and the green make-up severely irritated his good eye) saw him decline the part. However, he went on to enjoy a varied career – appearing in tv series such as The Monkees (1967), The Twilight Zone (1962) and films such as The Nutty Professor (1963), The Longest Yard (1974), Barbary Coat (1975), Silver Streak (1976), Pale Rider (1985) (directed by Clint Eastwood), Force Ten From Navarone (1978) (directed by Bond director Guy Hamilton) and Happy Gilmore (1996).

In 2002 his autobiography Making It BIG In The Movies was published by Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, London.

Richard then took on a long-cherished project, Kentucky Lion, a biographical novel about Cassius Clay. Not the boxer Muhammad Ali but the great white anti-slavery character who ran for President at the same time as Abraham Lincoln.

“It’s an actor’s dream role, full of action, romance and even courtroom drama. It has the high drama and award potential of a Schindler’s List and all the romance of Gone With The Wind. It’s a film about a little known American hero in an era of America that is amazingly fascinating.”

He reprised his role of Jaws in the 2004 game James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, supplying his voice and likeness. (Jaws is also featured in the 2010 Activision game GoldenEye.)

In the spring of 2006 he joined Verne Troyer in a six-episode televison series that took them to various places in Sweden, the show was titled Welcome to Sweden.

His son Richard George appears in The Spy Who Loved Me. He is the little boy on the beach pointing out to the upcoming car that James Bond is driving from the water.

In 2010 Richard returned to the big screen as he made the voice of Vlad in the Disney film Tangled.

Perhaps the most frequently asked question to Richard is: “Did those teeth hurt?”. The answer is: "No, but they were extremely nauseating to wear!"

Check out his autobiography for the rest of the story, and many more.

Editor's note:
For other posts featuring Richard Kiel on From Sweden with Love, click here.

Photo above:
Anders Frejdh and Richard Kiel in USA. Photo by Chris Kiel. © From Sweden with Love.

For more information about Richard Kiel's life and career, visit the official website:
www.richardkiel.com
#in_memoriam

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