Jaws has bitten his last: Richard Kiel, the 7-foot-2-inch actor best known for playing the metal-mouthed villain in two Bond movies, has died at the age of 74. The Detroit-born actor, who appeared in dozens of other movies, including Happy Gilmore, was in a California hospital after breaking his leg last week, but it’s not clear if the injury contributed to his death, TMZ reports. He had a hormonal condition called acromegaly, which is believed to have contributed to his height and distinctive features.
The original script for 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me had Jaws killed by a shark at the end, but an alternate ending where he survived was much more popular with test audiences, so the character was brought back for 1979’s Moonraker. “That was one of the big moments for me, watching the blue-collar screening of the movie … and having the reaction of the crowd at the theater when Jaws popped out of the ocean, survived, and swam away,” Kiel told the BBC in a recent interview. “There were hoots and howling, applause. I couldn’t believe it.”