Richard Kiel

Active - 1961 - 2010  |   Born - Sep 13, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, United States  |   Died - Sep 10, 2014   |   Genres - Comedy, Action, Adventure

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Biography by Hal Erickson

We shouldn't say it, nearly seven foot two, American actor Richard Kiel was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Making the cast-call rounds while working as a nightclub bouncer, Kiel began picking up bit roles in the early '60s. He was the misleadingly altruistic alien in the classic 1962 Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man" (you'll remember that climactic line "It's a cookbook!") and was less prestigiously starred in that masterpiece of bad cinema, Eegah! (1962). Ambling through a series a tough-lug and town-bully roles, Kiel attained full stardom as the menacing, steel-dentured Jaws in the the 1977 James Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me. So well-received was this appearance that the scriptwriters contrived to bring Jaws back from the dead in the next Bondfest, Moonraker (1979), wherein Kiel becomes a good guy before the end and even gets a girlfriend. In 1992, Richard Kiel turned producer/director (in addition to starring) with the appropriately titled The Giant of Thunder Mountain, a "four waller" which was released on a city-by-city basis. He played a memorable role in Happy Gilmore (1996), playing a fan of the title golfer and voiced a thug in Disney's animated film Tangled (2010). Kiel died in 2014, just days before his 74th birthday.

Movie Highlights

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  • Stood at 7 feet, 2 inches tall.
  • Moved to Los Angeles from Detroit with his family when he was 9.
  • Made his television debut in 1960 in an episode of Laramie.
  • Publishing his autobiography, Making it Big in the Movies, in 2002.