Darth Vader actor David Prowse dead at 85


2013 file photo of David Prowse, the British actor behind the menacing black mask of Star Wars villain Darth Vader, who died aged 85. Photo: AFP

David Prowse, the British actor best known for playing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died at the age of 85, his agents have confirmed. Prowse died on Saturday after an illness.

"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 MBE has passed away at the age of 85," Prowse's agents Bowington Management tweeted on Sunday.

Prowse was born in 1935. He won the British weightlifting championship in 1962 and represented England in the weightlifting category at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane the same year. Prowse played Frankenstein's monster in Casino Royale (1967), and again in The Horror Of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1974).

He played a bodyguard in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971), where George Lucas spotted him. He auditioned for both Darth Vader and Chewbacca and eventually landed the part of the Sith Lord. However, his accent was deemed unsuitable for the part and while he played the role physically, the voice performance was by James Earl Jones.

In 1975, he became an integral part of British culture when he played the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero invented to promote a British road safety campaign for children. His long association with the campaign earned him an The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) honour in 2000.

Prowse will be best remembered for being the man behind Darth Vader's mask in Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return Of The Jedi (1983).

In his later years he was a familiar figure at Star Wars conventions. His memoir Straight From The Force's Mouth was published in 2011. The story of his life was told in a 2015 documentary titled "I Am Your Father." – Reuters

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Star Wars , obituary , David Prowse , Darth Vader


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