In Brief

Richard Kiel: five unusual facts about the late Bond villain

Jaws actor was afraid of heights, worked as a bouncer and turned down the role of Chewbacca

The actor, Richard Kiel, famous for playing the steel-toothed James Bond villain Jaws, has died at the age of 74.

A spokesman at Saint Agnes medical centre in Fresno, California, confirmed that Kiel had died but declined to give any further information.

The 7ft 2in actor found worldwide fame opposite Roger Moore's 007 in The Spy Who Loved Me in 1979, and then reprised the role two years later in Moonraker.

Steve Stevens, Kiel's agent, said: "He was a very loyal friend and client for over 35 years, a terrific husband and father, and was not only a giant actor but a giant man." So what else is known about one of the Bond franchise's greatest and most-loved villains?

Cemetery salesman and maths tutor

According to his IMDb entry, before he became an actor he worked as a bouncer at a Los Angeles nightclub. He had also held jobs as a cemetery plot salesman and night school maths tutor.

Fear of heights

Kiel suffered from acrophobia. In The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, Roger Moore's stuntman stood in for him for some of the more vertiginous scenes.

Not so Chewy

Kiel turned down the role of Chewbacca in the Star Wars films. In an interview with The Times in 2012, he said that he was offered a lot of monster parts due to his height. He said he decided not to take the role of Chewbacca because he was afraid of being type cast and because it is "always so hot inside those suits". After turning the role down, Kiel was cast as Jaws.

More than just colleagues

Roger Moore and Richard Kiel remained friends long after they finished shooting together. According to Kiel, Moore was a "great team player, he just wanted the movies to be a success. He didn't care whether I stole scenes. Most movie stars wouldn't have put up with that."

According to Kiel, Moore was incredibly funny on the set, often improvising lines that ended up in the final cut. "For example, when Roger and Lois Chiles jump off the cable car and she says, 'Who is that? Do you know him?' and Roger says 'Not socially. His name's Jaws, he kills people.' Fantastic."

Truck accident

Kiel withdrew from acting in later life after he was involved in a truck accident. He remained "active on the autograph circuit" for avid Bond fans, The Guardian says, but the accident forced him to walk with a cane. In his later years he used a motorised wheelchair.

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