David Prowse, who was the original Darth Vader character in the iconic, first Star Wars trilogy, has died.
That news came from his management company, Bowington Management, which broke the news on Twitter on November 29,
He was 85 years old. Prowse was a British actor. Although the cause of death was not immediately clear, CNN reported that Prowse was treated for prostate cancer in 2018.
To many people, the iconic Darth Vader character is personified by another actor, James Earl Jones, who voiced the character. However, Prowse actually wore the suit and physically played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars, according to CNN. Because Prowse is British, it was thought that his English accent wouldn’t work for Darth Vader’s voice, CNN reported. According to CNN, he was also known for playing the “Green Cross Code Man” from a British road safety campaign.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Management Company Reported the Death With ‘Great Regret’
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
Prowse’s management company wrote the following message on Twitter:
“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 M.B.E. has passed away at the age of 85.”
“May the force be with him, always!” his former agent, Thomas Bowington, told BBC.
“Though famous for playing many monsters — for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives.”
According to his IMDB profile, Prowse “was born into a working class family on July 1, 1935 in Bristol, England, UK.” He was raised by a single mother and didn’t know who his father was, so he turned to bodybuilding as a teenager and even won a British heavyweight title in weightlifting.
As a result, according to IMDB, he was friends with weightlifters like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.
His first acting offer was playing “Frankenstein’s Monster” in Casino Royale, the 1967 version, reported IMDB. Other roles followed.
In 1977, he auditioned for the new Star Wars movie, which wasn’t predicted to be a big hit at the time, and, according to IMDB, director George Lucas told Prowse he could play either Chewbacca or Darth Vader. He famously told Lucas, “Everyone remembers the villain, George,” picking Darth Vader. He played the role for the first Star Wars trilogy.
Star Wars Fans & Stars Offered Tributes to Prowse on Social Media
David Prowse, the champion English weightlifter and bodybuilder who supplied his 6-foot-7 frame — but not the voice or the deep breathing — to portray Darth Vader in the original 'Star Wars' trilogy, died early in the morning on Saturday https://t.co/ssWdfYgZDf pic.twitter.com/MgWCONp5vh
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) November 29, 2020
Mark Hamill joined those offering tribute to Prowse. “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,” he wrote.
Carl Weathers wrote on Twitter, “RIP David Prowse. That stature contributed so much to Darth Vader’s legend. #BePeace.”
Another Twitter user wrote, “R.I.P David Prowse he will not be forgotten May the force be with you.”
“He was a great man and he will always be remembered,” wrote another fan.
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