Last week the film world mourned the loss of one of its most memorable giants. Richard Kiel, best known as beloved James Bond henchman "Jaws" and more recently as nail-headed construction foreman Mr. Larsen in Happy Gilmore, died in Fresno, California at the age of 74. A big man with a heart to match, Kiel remained active in his career both acting and delighting generations of fans as conventions coast-to-coast. It is in tribute to one of our favorite actors we present our Richard Kiel memorial playlist.
Shirley Bassey – "Moonraker" from Moonraker
Back by popular demand, Kiel reprised his role as "Jaws" for the next Bond installment Moonraker. Notable here is how Kiel's charismatic performance translated into "Jaws'" inevitable likability, making his character's ultimate happy ending one of the most cherished twists in the franchise.
Arch Hall Jr. – "Vicki" from Eegah!
But before he was "Jaws," Kiel was the title character in the 1962 cult classic Eegah! Here, Kiel played a smitten caveman to perfection, attempting to woo the lovely Vicki aware from her rockin' beau, played by teen semi-throb Arch Hall Jr. A classic of the 60s Drive-In scene, much of the film surrounds Hall's music. One listen to "Vicki" and it's clear what drove the caveman gaga, as well as what drove the fair maiden into the arms of a neanderthal.
Lynyrd Skynyrd – "Tuesday's Gone" from Happy Gilmore
One of Adam Sandler's most beloved vehicles, Happy Gilmore stands out for its timeless reliability for wall-to-wall smiles. While Kiel shines throughout the film as "Gilmore's" intimidating but understanding former boss "Mr. Larsen," his trademark angry mugging during his fight with Gilmore to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone" in the opening credits is a delightful bit of film.
El-P – "How To Serve Man (Stripped)"
Kiel is also fondly remembered for starring in a fan favorite episode of landmark TV series "The Twilight Zone." In the episode "To Serve Man," Kiel played Kanamit, an alien sent to Earth seemingly in obedient peace but SPOILER ALERT has been merely fattening up its inhabitants to be used as livestock for food on his home planet. The episode was recently sampled by rapper/producer El-P for his 2009 track "How to Serve Man (The Meanest Things I'd Never Say)," which appeared one year later in instrumental form on his album Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamix3. The eerie edits of the episode set to the tune on YouTube capture the chilling vibe of the episode, and Kiel's unsettlingly stoic performance, perfectly.
BONUS: Richard Kiel on "The Monkees"
Hey hey, he's Richard Kiel. People say he just Richard Kiels around. In this 1967 TV appearance, Kiel shows off his excellent comedic timing in both slapstick humor as well as the dry wit of his delivery. It's pretty groovy.