David Prowse’s career is being remembered, following his death aged 85.
The film star died this week after battling a short illness, with his agent confirming: ‘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 MBE has passed away at the age of 85.
‘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.’
While Prowse gained cinematic infamy playing the physical form of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films, Brits may best know him as the Green Cross Code Man.
The former bodybuilder played the first Green Cross Code Man, a superhero-like character used in road safety advertising aimed at children, in the 1975.
Describing the role as ‘the best gig I ever had’, Prowse received an MBE for his work on the campaign in 2000.
Director Edgar Wright said that Prowse stopped ‘a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street’.
His jump to the big screen came in 1967 when he starred as Frankenstein’s monster in the James Bond spoof Casino Royale – a role he would play twice more in the Hammer horrors The Horror of Frankenstein and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell.
Prowse then bagged the role of Alex’s bodyguard Julian in A Clockwork Orange in 1971.
Six years later, Prowse – who was 6ft 6in tall – was offered the choice of two roles in the 1977 sci-fi film Star Wars by George Lucas.
Speaking at a convention in 2016, Prowse said: ‘Lucas said to me, “You’ve got a choice of two characters in the movie”. So I said, “What are they?”
‘He said, “There’s a character called Chewbacca, which is like a huge teddy bear, or alternatively, there’s the main villain in the piece.”
‘I said to him, “Well, there’s no choice, is there? Thank you very much, I’ll have the villain’s piece”.’
Prowse went on to play Darth Vader in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, and although he originally voiced the iconic villain, he was replaced by James Earl Jones due to his thick West Country accent.
While Prowse remained associated with the franchise, he had a number of disputes with George Lucas and in 2010, he was banned from attending official Star Wars fan conventions after ‘burning too many bridges’.
He did, however, make a number of appearances in documentaries about the films, including Elstree 1976, I Am Your Father and The Force’s Mouth.
Elsewhere in his career, Prowse trained Christopher Reeve for his role in Superman, and Cary Elwes for his role in The Princess Bride.
Credit: Original article published here.