Richard Kiel is Candid

Earlier this month I listened to a 007 panel discussion at the Cinema Wasteland show, Strongsville, Ohio.  Richard Kiel (Jaws), Lana Wood (Plenty O’Toole) and Barbara Bouchet (Moneypenny in Casino Royale, 1967) spoke candidly about their careers.  Detroit’s own Richard Kiel was especially animated when prompted to reminisce about infamous director Otto Preminger.  Kiel had a relatively small role as Beany in Preminger’s mind-blowing Skidoo (1968). Kiel went on to tell the story how Preminger just ranted and raved and tormented a young broadway actor. Kiel (in Preminger Voice —think Colonel Klink): IF YOU’RE GOING TO ACT THEN ACT!!!  Kiel noted “If he would’ve talked to me that way I would’ve killed ’em”. He was not a fan of Preminger’s style.  Notorious bad boy Robert Mitchum apparently got along with Preminger.

My friend Dan also asked Lana Wood and Kiel, who both starred in Twilight Zone episodes, if they had any recollections about Rod Serling.  Neither had any interaction with him, which is consistent with published material noting that Serling has little face time with actors.

On my return home I watched To Serve Man again.  Kiel of course plays the 9′ tall 350 pound Kanamit. These are a benevolent race of aliens that solve the problems of war and famine on earth.  This episode still remains one of my all-time favorites and is worth revisiting.  In any event, it was nice listening to Richard Kiel again.

4 Responses to “Richard Kiel is Candid”

  1. Russell Johnson, who appeared in two episodes of original Twilight Zone, said (in his Archive of American Television interview) that Serling would come down onto the set at lunchtime and visit with the actors. Johnson said Serling was very friendly, but Johnson is the only actor I’ve heard talk this way about Serling.

  2. The impression I got from Kiel’s comments at Wasteland was that Serling taped his intros at entirely different times and places than the actors in the episodes were rehearsing or recording. It seemed more logistics and scheduling that kept Serling away from the actors, not attitude.

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