Dave Prowse, actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, dies at 85
David Prowse died Saturday after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said Sunday.
Dave Prowse, the British weightlifter-turned-actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died. He was 85.
Prowse died Saturday after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said Sunday. "May the force be with him, always! Though famous for playing many monsters - for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives," he said, according to the BBC.
Born in Bristol, southwest England, in 1935, Prowse represented England in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games in the 1950s before breaking into movies with roles that emphasised his commanding size, including Frankenstein's monster in Horror Of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974).
Director George Lucas saw Prowse in a small part in A Clockwork Orange and asked the 6-foot-6-inch (2-meter) actor to audition for the villainous Vader or the wookie Chewbacca in Star Wars.
Prowse later told the BBC he chose Darth Vader because “you always remember the bad guys.” Physically, Prowse was perfect for the part.
His lilting English West Country accent was considered less ideal, and his lines were dubbed by James Earl Jones.
Prowse was also known to a generation of British children as the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero in a series of road safety advertisements Ant-Man director Edgar Wright paid tribute to Prowse on Twitter. Mark Hamill, known for playing Luke Skywalker in Star Wars and others also mourned the actor's demise.
So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader. Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him. #RIP pic.twitter.com/VbDrGu6iBz
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 29, 2020
As a kid Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader & stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man. Rest in Peace, Bristol’s finest. https://t.co/VYdxM37JWb
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) November 29, 2020
David Prowse as Darth Vader was BRILLIANT. He was so unbelievably magical in that suit. I’ve watched Empire so many times with the sound off just to watch how he moved. His physical choices were as iconic as James’ voice to me & aside from all of that he was such a nice man. RIP pic.twitter.com/8OXI7DFdWZ
— JOE MANGANIELLO (@JoeManganiello) November 29, 2020
Prowse's autobiography Straight from the Force's Mouth was published in 2011.
(With inputs from The Associated Press)
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