David Prowse, The Original Darth Vader, Dies at 85

It’s a sad day for the Star Wars fans today. British actor David Prowse, the man behind the original Darth Vader in the original Star Wars Trilogy, died at the age of 85. His management company announced it on Sunday. Prowse died after a short illness, according to his agent Thomas Billington. Back in 2018, it was announced that he was being treated for prostate cancer. Through Twitter, Bowington Management stated, “It’s with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and millions of fans around the world, to announce that our client DAVE PROWSE M.B.E. has passed away at the age of 85.

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His former agent, Burlington releases a statement to BBC saying “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.” Prowse wore this black suit and helmet to play Darth Vader, but it was actually actor James Earl Jones who’s been provided the character’s voice. Creators thought Prowse’s West Country accent was unsuitable for the part.

Darth Vader Actor David Prowse

Although he played the legendary Darth Vader, Prowe stated that his role as a Green Cross code man from the British Road Safety campaign is one he was most proud of. He was awarded MBE, a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 2004. Actor Mark Hamill, who played Darth Vader’s son Luke Skywalker alongside Prowse sent his condolences through Twitter. He stated, “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”

Mark Hamill on David Prowse’s Death

The weightlifter grew up in a council estate in South Meade and was born into a working-class family in Southern England. He then got a scholarship to attend the Bristol Grammar School. He also not a passion for bodybuilding and was crowned British Weightlifting Champion several times back in the 1960s. According to IMDb, he then became friends with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in his weightlifting years. His very broad physique and towering figure are what helped him land the roles as villains and monsters and TV shows and movies.

He played the monster in the Horror of Frankenstein back in 1970 and a torturer in Carry on Henry and 1971. That same year he also made an appearance as a bodyguard in Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange in 1971. He then went on to play the popular Darth Vader in the three original Star Wars films A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, alongside the late Carrie Fisher and Hollywood actor Harrison Ford. Fitness and health were a heavy interest for the actor, who famously worked as a personal trainer for several actors playing the role of Superman, which included Christopher Reeve.

Watch: Harrison Ford: Get to Know Han Solo’s 5 Children

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