Actor David Prowse, who is best known for his role as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died at 85 years old.
The late actor's management company made the sad announcement on Sunday, November 29. "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 M.B.E. has passed away at the age of 85," Bowington Management tweeted.
Prowse passed away after a short illness — he was reportedly diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018.
Friends, fans and costars of the Star Wars films offered tributes to Prowse on social media. Prowse's former agent, Thomas Bowington, told the BBC that his client's passing is "a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world."
"May the force be with him, always!" Bowington added. "Though famous for playing many monsters — for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives."
“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,” Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the franchise, wrote.
“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!” Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett, said.
C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels wrote, "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."
Although Darth Vader was voiced by James Earl Jones, Prowse was the man behind the mask due to his broad stature. Prose’s lines were dubbed over by Jones as his English accent wasn’t suited for the films. Prowse also acted in The Horror of Frankenstein, Carry on Henry and A Clockwork Orange.
The author was asked to audition for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca after director George Lucas was impressed with his performance as a security guard in A Clockwork Orange and selected Prowse for Darth Vader because "you already remember the bad guys."
Prowse was also good friends with fellow bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger and later went on to become a personal trainer for actors in superhero films such as Christopher Reeves, who played Superman.
Prowse also penned an autobiography, Straight from the Force’s Mouth; The Autobiography of Dave Prowse, MBE, in 2011, where he detailed his life — from his poor childhood to becoming a world-renowned film star.
We're thinking of the Prowse family at this difficult time.