Richard Kiel Dies at 74; Played Jaws in Bond Films

Richard Kiel's passing with health issues reminds us the need to plan early for health issues as part of our retirement planning.

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Richard Kiel Dies at 74; Played Jaws in Bond Films
5 Min Read June 24th, 2015 Updated:April 22nd, 2022

Actor Richard Kiel was known for his unique roles due to his physical appearance. He played thugs and aliens, for example. Perhaps best known for his role in Jaws and as the assassin with metal dentition in two James Bond films, died in 2014 at the age of 74.

In 1992, actor Richard Kiel suffered a severe head injury in a car accident, which affected his balance. He was subsequently forced to walk with a cane to support himself (as shown in his appearance in Happy Gilmore, where he is seen leaning on a person or a cane). Afterward, Kiel used a scooter or wheelchair.

He also suffered from Acromegaly (often associated with gigantism), a chronic, life-threatening disease triggered by overproduction of growth hormone, most often caused by a pituitary tumor. Untreated, this excess of growth hormone leads to overproduction of a second hormone, IGF-I, which causes the disabling symptoms and the long-term health problems associated with the disorder.

Patients with Acromegaly often suffer from headache, excessive sweating, soft-tissue swelling, joint disorders, and, perhaps most striking, a progressive coarsening of facial features and enlargement of the hands, feet, and jaw. Untreated patients with Acromegaly face a mortality rate two to four times higher than the average person due to serious long-term heart complications, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

He died in 2014 at the age of 74. 

He was a big man weighing around 300 pounds. His health condition caused an enlargement of his bones in the hands, feet, and face, giving him the distinctive appearance that he used as an actor to play threatening roles and also for comic effect.

His movie break came in "The Longest Yard" (1974), where he played a weight lifting inmate who was a crybaby. He had roles in the "Silver Streak," "Jaws," "The Spy Who Loved Me," and "Moonraker." 

It was a movie-buff aunt who suggested that Kiel try acting. In the early 1960s, he had parts in the western series "Laramie" and "The Rifleman." In 1962 he played a deceitful visitor from outer space in "To Serve Man," a classic episode of "The Twilight Zone." 

He made several guest appearances on TV series, including "Lassie," "Gilligan's Island," "I Dream of Jeannie," "Honey West," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "The Monkees," and "I Spy." 

We all have health problems, especially as we get older. Many of these problems will lead to needing help with daily living activities. Preparing your family and finances before retiring is essential for retirement planning because of the high costs of long-term health care and the burdens placed on family members. 

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An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

An essential part of preparing for a successful future retirement is a plan for long-term health care. Longevity means a considerable risk that you will need help at some point with activities of daily living or need supervision due to some form of dementia.

The care could be in your own home or in a facility like assisted living. You can prepare your family and finances from the costs and burdens of aging with an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy. 

Prepare Your Family for Your Future Longevity

Remember, being a caregiver is hard, especially for family members. Paid care drains savings and adversely impacts your income and lifestyle. An affordable LTC policy gives you access to your choice of quality care either at home or in a facility. The key is to plan before you retire when premiums are very affordable. Ideally, this means when you are in your 40s or 50s. Start your research by finding the current cost and future care of extended care services where you live.

LTC NEWS Offers Many Planning Tools and Resources 

Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.

One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.

LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:


Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Finding Quality Care for Mom or Dad

If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  


If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Help in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance. 

Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. 

If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you, or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation. 

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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