If you ask the average person on the street to name a Bond villain then chances are Jaws will come up, and rightfully so. Jaws is by far one of the most memorable and iconic of all of James Bond’s adversaries and a major reason for this is Richard Kiel, who sadly passed away today. While I’m obviously very aware that Kiel was in a large amount of movies and tv shows such as Happy Gilmore (1996) and The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) episode To Serve Man (1962), to me and many others, his role as Jaws is the one that he’ll be remembered for. Kiel’s performance brought a very real personality to the character of Jaws. Instead of being the monster-esque heavy that the character was originally intended to be, Jaws became a fuller character, experiencing emotions such as anger, confusion, pride, joy, fear and perseverance. Kiel’s role in this is critical, all of it was his doing and he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the performance. Jaws appears in two Bond films, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979), with both having very different takes on his character. The Spy Who Loved Me has Jaws as a straight henchmen who is actually pretty terrifying at times, the scene where he attacks Anya in the train is still bloody chilling. Moonraker has a more comedic Jaws, Kiel himself has described him as the coyote from the roadrunner cartoons, he just keeps coming. Hell, the fact that Jaws returns in Moonraker shows how popular he was. I’ve often thought of Moonraker as a Bond film made by focus group, everything popular in the late 1970’s is in Moonraker, James Bond, disco, sci-fi, a story that’s a blatant re-hash of The Spy Who Loved Me, eugenics. The fact that audiences liked Jaws so much that the writers of The Spy Who Loved Me changed the film’s ending so that he kills a shark WITH HIS TEETH is testament to the characters legacy and, ultimately, Kiel’s power as an actor. We here at That Guy That Reviews Stuff offer our heartfelt condolences to the Kiel family at this time and member an actor who loved his work, his family and life. I know I’ll be watching both of his Bond films many more times.
R.I.P Richard Kiel