Dave Prowse, Darth Vader of Star Wars, dies aged 85

Born in Bristol on July 1, 1935, Prowse was a bodybuilder and weightlifter before becoming an actor.

Dave Prowse represented England in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games in the 1960s. Before beginning his acting career, he trained Christopher Reeve for the role of the Superman. Photo: Twitter/Mark Hamill

British actor Dave Prowse, who played the villain Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, passed away on Saturday (November 28), his agent Thomas Bowington said on Sunday (November 28). He was 859

“It’s with great sadness that we have to announce that our client Dave Prowse… passed away yesterday (Saturday) morning at the age of 85,” Bowington wrote on Facebook.

Speaking to BBC, he said it was “a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world”.

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“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. “May the force be with him, always!”

Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films, tweeted, “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 (sic).”

“More sad news. Dave has gone. I don’t think 3PO ever faced Vader’s mighty presence on set, other than as a bag of bits on Chewie’s shoulders in the carbon freezer. But Dave’s iconic figure dominated the finished film in ’77 and has done so ever since. And will continue to do so. (sic),” Star Wars co-star Anthony Daniels wrote on Twitter.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees posted on Twitter, “Sad to lose Dave Prowse, our #GreenCrossCode man and #DarthVader. A Bristol man and along with #WhyDon’tYou and #GrangeHill, part of our 70s and 80s childhoods: BBC News Darth Vader actor dies aged 85 MR (sic).”

Born in Bristol on July 1, 1935, Prowse was a bodybuilder and weightlifter before becoming an actor. He represented England in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games in the 1960s. Before beginning his acting career, he trained Christopher Reeve for the role of the Superman (1978).

He was reportedly spotted by Star Wars director George Lucas as an extra in the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange. Lucas, who was 6-foot-6-inch tall, asked him to audition for the roles of Vader and hairy giant Chewbacca in 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, plumping for the dark side because “you always remember the bad guys,” he once told the BBC, according to news agency AFP.

As per BBC, Prowse made his film debut in 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale playing Frankenstein’s Creature, a part he was asked to play again in two films from the iconic Hammer film series, 1970’s Horror Of Frankenstein and 1974’s Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell.

In Britain, he was popular with children for playing the superhero Green Cross Code Man for 20 years, which he described as the “best job I ever had”. This was created to teach children road safety. Prowse’s autobiography Straight from the Force’s Mouth was published in 2011.

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