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Jaws Is Dead

Richard Kiel, the actor best known for portraying steel-toothed villain known only as "Jaws" in two James Bond films, has died at 74.

Kelley Sanchez, director of communications at Saint Agnes Medical Center, confirmed to the Associated Press on Wednesday that Kiel was a patient at the Fresno, Calif., hospital and had died. Sanchez would not provide further details on Kiel's medical condition at the time of his death.

The 7-foot-2-inch performer famously played the massive henchman who tussled with Roger Moore's James Bond in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me and 1979's Moonraker. "His name's Jaws," quipped Moore when Jaws reappeared in Moonraker. "He kills people."

Sir Roger Moore and Richard Kiel. Image Credit: Associated Press

In their obituary for Kiel, the Wall Street Journal reminds us that his acting career wasn't one note. His 50-year career included more than 70 acting credits. Perhaps you remember Kiel from his role as a football-playing convict in the 1974's The Longest Yard, or as the ornery golf spectator in Adam Sandler's 1996 golfing comedy Happy Gilmore. 

For anyone who spent their childhood years obsessed with the James Bond series (as I did), Kiel's performance as the silent, but deadly, Jaws will always standout. The hulking Jaws became the archetypal gimmicky Bond villain, but as opposed to other more offensive versions (think the sultry Bambi and Thumper from Diamonds Are Forever or the Korean OddJob from Goldfinger), Kiel's subtle performance in Moonraker stole the show from Moore. 

Here's to you, Kiel.