Gregory Kirschling
August 02, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Richard Kiel’s hands are huge. Audiences no doubt remember his teeth–he was steel-toothed Jaws in two James Bond movies–but take a look at his paws in the train-car showdown with 007 in The Spy Who Loved Me. Kiel cups Roger Moore’s face in his mitt, and it dwarfs Moore’s head!

“Yeah, my hands are huge,” says the 7’2″, 300-plus-pound Kiel. “I remember when I was selling Lincoln Mercury cars, one of the salesmen’s father said it’s like shaking hands with a stalk of bananas.”

Getting huge is at the heart of Kiel’s new autobiography, Making It Big in the Movies (Trafalgar Square, $24.95). He toiled in bit parts and odd jobs for 17 years before Spy and Moonraker put Jaws among Bond’s most popular foes. Today, at 63, Kiel enjoys the perks of that weird fame, making appearances the world over for Bond’s massive overseas fan base. “I was in England last year and Hamburg last December,” he says. “And I did an autograph convention in Malmo, Sweden, with Peter Mayhew, the Chewbacca guy. The amount of press was overwhelming. I was doing the weather in Swedish on Swedish television.”

Writing his life story was “very easy,” he says. (It probably helped that he’d long been working on a 510-page historical novel about 19th-century abolitionist Cassius Clay that he’s currently shopping.) A born-again Christian since the late ’70s, he ends his book with an 11-page testament of his faith. “I tried to preface that chapter with a disclaimer that if you’re totally closed to this sort of thing, you might just want to forget the chapter,” says the father of four and grandfather of three. “I don’t want to force anything on anybody.”

That’s mighty big of him.

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