12:17 Monday 13 May 2013

Richard Kiel sinks his teeth back in the UK

Written byCAROLINE KAY

THERE are many elements which make a good James Bond film.

For me it’s the heady mix of the gadgets, a bevvy of Bond beauties, the exotic locations, the music and, of course, a jolly good ‘Bond baddie’.

Over the years there have been dozens of villains which have come in many shapes and sizes, and every fan of the successful movie franchise will have their own favourite.

One of the most celebrated of all has to be Jaws – the Bond villain famously recognisable for his razor sharp steel teeth.

Measuring in at a towering 7ft 2in tall and weighing 325lbs, Richard Kiel portrayed Bond’s most formidable adversary twice – once in The Spy Who Loved Me and then two years later in Moonraker.

Sharing the silver screen on both occasions with Roger Moore, the character was supposed to be killed off in the first movie. However, the character was so successful he came back with a girlfriend, Dolly, and a new attitude which took him over to the good side to become Bond’s ally. There was talk to reunite Bond, Jaws and Dolly for a third movie, but that’s all it was, just talk. Many Bond obsessives will think this isn’t a bad thing as there was a danger of the character becoming too comedic.

Part of the 50 years of Bond celebrations – which is now entering its 51st – the giant of a man will delight fans of all ages as he is set to make a rare trip to the UK later this month.

On Sunday, May 26 he will be visiting The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, accompanied by pocket-size French actress Blanche Ravelec who played his love interest Dolly in Moonraker.

Promoting his autobiography, the pair will spend the day signing copies of official photographs and posing for snap shots with fans. Prior to this, on Saturday, May 25, Richard and Blanche will be joined by Bond beauty Caroline Monro in Portsmouth at the Mountbatten Centre.

British-born Monro is best known as the ill-fated helicopter pilot Naomi in the The Spy Who Loved Me, who seductively winks at Bond while trying to gun him down from her helicopter.

In her role as Naomi, she holds the distinction of being the first woman ever undeniably killed by James Bond.

I catch up for a quick chat with Richard from his home in California which he shares with wife Diane.

“It is going to be a great to meet up with Blanche and Caroline again,” he said.

“It will also be a great experience for Bond fans to come along and see us all together.”

Since becoming partially disabled due to a car accident more than 20 years ago, Kiel now walks with a stick. He’s still making movies at the age of 73, and his physical ialment hasnt dampened his ardour – he is genuinely excited about appearing at both venues, especially the engagement at Beaulieu.

“I was talking to a Bond fan in LA and he was saying what a wonderful exhibition the Bond in Motion is,” said Richard. “He had been and really enjoyed it.

Richard, who will be travelling with his wife Diane, will also be visiting London for a question and answer session for a screening of The Spy Who Loved Me and having lunch with a smattering of Bond producers, including Barbara Broccoli, before being whisked off to see her acclaimed West End musical Once.

“It’s a great musical and a romantic play which I am really looking forward to seeing,” said Richard.

“Barbara’s father, Cubby, produced the two movies I was in so I have known her for a long time. It will be wonderful meeting up with her again.”

However, the first thing Richard will be doing when he lands in the UK is paying a visit to the north of England.

Richard said: “I will be in Manchester at a dental implant company as they are replacing four of my missing molars to give me a better bite!”

So those teeth weren’t real after all!

Richard will be appearing at The Mountbatten Centre, in Alexandra Park, Portsmouth, on Saturday, May 25 and The National Motor Museum, in Beaulieu, on Sunday, May 26.

For information about the Beaulieu event call 01590 612345 or visit www.beaulieu.co.uk

Alternatively, go to www.timelesscollectors.com

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