Stars Wars actor David Prowse has died aged 85, it has been confirmed.
The British film star, who was best known for donning the first Darth Vader suit, had battled a short illness.
Confirming the news, Prowse’s management said in a statement: ‘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.’
His agent Thomas Bowington added: ‘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.’
Actor Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett in Star Wars: Episode II Attack Of The Clones, shared his devastation in a Twitter post which read: ‘Sad to hear of the passing of a #StarWars family member. RIP Dave Prowse.
‘Darth Vader wouldn’t be the same without you in the costume. We had many fun times & laughs at cons together over the years.
‘Glad to have been able to call you a friend. Rest now and be one with the Force!’
Film director Edgar Wright added: ‘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.’
Prowse played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy movies but the character was voiced by James Earl Jones.
Late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the sci-fi franchise, had fond memories of working with Prowse and said in a 2016 interview on the Jonathan Ross Show: ‘We called him Darth Farmer.’
Prowse made history as the first Green Cross Code Man, a character used in adverts explaining road safety to children. He once described it as the ‘best job I ever had’ and received an MBE in 2000 for the role.
He made his big screen debut in the 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale.
Other parts included playing Frankenstein in three movies while also appearing in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
He was cast as Darth Vader in 1977.
Speaking at Awesome Con in Washington DC four years ago, Prowse recalled: ‘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”.’
Before his big break in Hollywood, Prowse was a weightlifter and trained late screen icon Christopher Reeve for his role as Superman. He even represented England in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games in the early 1960s before embarking on an acting career.
Prowse is survived by his wife, Norma E. Scammell, who he married in 1963 and three children.
Credit: Original article published here.