Sir Roger leads tributes to towering James Bond star Richard Kiel

Richard Kiel as Jaws and Roger Moore as James Bond in the 1977 film, The Spy Who Loved Me.
Richard Kiel as Jaws and Roger Moore as James Bond in the 1977 film, The Spy Who Loved Me.
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Sir Roger Moore led the tributes to his James Bond co-star Richard Kiel, famous for playing steel-toothed villain Jaws, who has died aged 74.

Kiel, who starred the 1977 Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, and two years later in Moonraker, appeared with Sir Roger on Radio 4’s The Reunion only last week to talk about the films.

Sir Roger, 86, said: “I am totally distraught to learn of my dear friend Richard Kiel’s passing. We were on a radio programme together just a week ago. Distraught. Can’t take it in.”

Kiel, who was 7ft 2in tall due to a hormonal condition called acromegaly, died at a hospital in California on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Saint Agnes Medical Center confirmed Kiel’s death, but did not reveal the cause.

He had a lengthy career in television and cinema but was best known as the cable-chomping henchman. Kiel later appeared in the Adam Sandler comedy Happy Gilmore, in 1996, where he played Mr Larson. He also provided a voice for Disney’s 2010 animated film Tangled

In 2002 he published an autobiography titled Making It Big in the Movies.

The towering star got his first acting break in the 1950s, but it was starring opposite Sir Roger that he made his name.

During the Radio 4 programme last week, Kiel said he initially thought playing Jaws could appear “over the top”.

He said: “I was very put off by the description of the character and I thought, well, they don’t really need an actor, he’s more a monster part.

“So I tried to change that view of it... I said if I were to play the part, I want to give the character some human characteristics, like perseverance, frustration.”