Darth Vader Actor David Prowse Dies at 85

Naman Ramachandran
·3-min read

David Prowse, the British actor best known for playing Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, has died at the age of 85, his agents have confirmed.

Prowse died on Saturday after an illness.

“It’s with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and million of fans around the world, to announce that our client Dave Prowse MBE has passed away at the age of 85,” Prowse’s agents Bowington Management tweeted on Sunday.

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Prowse was born in 1935. He won the British weightlifting championship in 1962 and represented England in the weightlifting category at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane the same year.

Prowse played Frankenstein’s monster in “Casino Royale” (1967), and again in “The Horror of Frankenstein” (1970) and “Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell” (1974). He played a bodyguard in Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” (1971), where George Lucas spotted him. He auditioned for both Darth Vader and Chewbacca and eventually landed the part of the Sith Lord. However, his accent was deemed unsuitable for the part and while he played the role physically, the voice performance was by James Earl Jones.

In 1975, he became an integral part of British culture when he played the “Green Cross Code Man,” a superhero invented to promote a British road safety campaign for children. His long association with the campaign earned him an The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) honor in 2000.

Prowse will be best remembered for being the man behind Darth Vader’s mask in “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977), “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” (1983). In his later years he was a familiar figure at “Star Wars” conventions.

His memoir “Straight from the Force’s Mouth” was published in 2011. The story of his life was told in a 2015 documentary titled “I Am Your Father.”

“So sad to hear David Prowse has passed,” Mark Hamill tweeted. “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”

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“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,” tweeted “Baby Driver” director Edgar Wright.

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