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James Bond villain actor Richard Kiel dies at age 74

LOS ANGELES: Actor Richard Kiel, best known for playing metal-mouthed James Bond villain Jaws, died on Wednesday at a hospital in Fresno, California. He was 74.

Kiel died at Saint Agnes Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Kelley Sanchez said. She did not reveal any further details on the cause of his death, citing patient confidentiality.

Standing 7 feet 2 inches (2.2 meters) tall, Kiel’s imposing height made him one of the most recognizable villains in the James Bond film franchise, playing Jaws in 1977’s “The Spy Who Loved Me” and 1979’s “Moonraker” opposite Roger Moore’s Bond.

“He was a very loyal friend and client for over 35 years, a terrific husband and father, and was not only a giant actor but a giant man,” said Steve Stevens, Kiel’s agent.

Stevens said Kiel had taken a step back from acting after he was involved in a truck accident several years ago and was faced with walking difficulties. He remained active on the autograph circuit for avid Bond fans.

Kiel’s television credits include roles in 1964’s “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” 1965’s “The Wild Wild West” and 1975’s “Barbary Coast.” The Detroit native more recently appeared in 1996’s “Happy Gilmore” opposite Adam Sandler, and voiced the villain Vlad in 2010’s animated princess tale “Tangled.” -Reuters

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