Thursday, September 11, 2014

Richard Kiel (1939-2014)

"Well, here's to us."
-Richard Kiel's single line of dialogue as Jaws to Dolly, Jaw's girlfriend, in Moonraker-

The wonderful, hulking, charming 7'2" actor Richard Kiel (1939-2014) has unfortunately passed away. I'm always saddened a bit to see these wonderful childhood icons, figures and role models pass away each year.

I have such great fondness for the Roger Moore years of James Bond 007. While not considered critical favorites, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979) remain two of my very favorite James Bond films. They will forever remain so.

Roger Moore and Richard Kiel are two big reasons I love those films. Kiel popularized the villain Jaws and made him a big, dumb, but lovable baddie in The Spy Who Loved Me. I'll never forget the climax of The Spy Who Loved Me when the scene became essentially Jaws versus Jaws in the shark tank. Two scenes were shot. One envisioned the shark winning, the other Jaws would survive. It was clear Kiel would return for Moonraker. Jaws was still a strong man in Moonraker but he was softened a bit because kids like myself absolutely adored him.

Scene after scene of Kiel's screen time in the 007 films are unforgettable. And he barely said a word apart from that wonderful final line in Moonraker. He didn't have to say a thing. His physical presence was everything in those films. His command of the screen was electric with Moore.

Kiel also figured prominently in To Serve A Man (1962) for The Twilight Zone. Other genre favorites included The Fall Guy, (1981), Land Of The Lost (1977), Starsky & Hutch (1976), Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Gilligan's Island, Emergency!, The Monkees and I Dream Of Jeannie. He was also nearly retained for the role of The Incredible Hulk in the 1970s.

For some reason the world seemed a little better with the likes of Richard Kiel in it. Kiel passed away at 74. Here's to us indeed. We were lucky to have him.

Please check back. I plan to upload my favorite Richard Kiel moments as Jaws here at Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic in the days ahead. It will be fun to revisit those films.


Roman J. Martel said...

Yeah it's I was saddened by this too. So strange, I just reviewed "The Spy Who Loved Me" and the MST3K review for this month is "The Phantom Planet" which also featured Kiel as the alien monster.

Anyway, looking forward to journeying back with you on these.

Dog In Space said...

Gosh, yes, funny your timing on writing TSWLM! It is a timeless classic.