Richard Kiel, the Americanstar who played steel-toothed villain Jaws in two James Bond movies died aged74. After breaking his leg last week, the towering 218cm actor was admitted toSaint Agnes medical centre, California. There he died on Wednesday. Thehospital confirmed the death without giving further details, and it remainsunclear whether it is related to the injury or not.

Richard Kiev was born inDetroit, Michigan in 1939. Surprisingly, he claimed not have harboured anyambitious to be an actor when he was young. His acting career began in theearly 1960s, when he made his first apparitions in the western series Klondike (1960) and Laramie(1961), along with some small and sometimesuncredited parts in movies.

Over the years, Kiev appeared in several films andTV shows – yet it was the two James Bond movies, The Spy Who Loved Me(1977) and Moonraker (1979), thatmade him famous. Kiel was indeed one of themost memorable villains - and he could never really escape from this character.Initially, he was not enthusiastic about this Jaws role because he thought itcould appear “over the top”.

"I was very put off by the description ofthe character and I thought, 'Well, they don't really need an actor, he's morea monster part' ... I said if I were to play the part, I want to give thecharacter some human characteristics, like perseverance, frustration."

Beyond doubt, his efforts toadd more layers to his character were successful. Although the figure of Jawwas originally intended to die at the end of The Spy Who Loved Me (funnily enough, eaten by a shark!), the audienceloved him so much that the producers of Bond changed the ending, allowing himto return in Moonraker two yearslater.

Kiel worked in a variety of projects: in later years, he even turned his hand to writing and producing,including the 1991 family film The Giantof Thunder Mountain. Besides co-writing a historical novel about CassiusClay, he published an autobiography in 2002 titled Making It Big in the Movies.

The towering actor alsoappeared in the Adam Sandler sportscomedy Happy Gilmore (1996).

"Richard Kiel was oneof the nicest, funniest guys I've ever met. I'll never forget hanging out withhim & how good he was to everyone"Sandler tweeted Thursday.

Kiel was and always willbe most famous for his Jaws character in the Bond mythology. Yet, he was muchmore than a set of metal teeth. As his agent Steve Stevens said, He was a very loyal friend and client for over35 years, a terrific husband and father, and was not only a giant actor but agiant man”. 

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