Dave Prowse, the British former bodybuilder best known for playing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died aged 85, his manager has confirmed.
“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,” tweeted Bowington Management.
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. #DaveProwse @starwars #DarthVader #GreenCrossCodeMan #iconic #actor #bodybuilder #MBE pic.twitter.com/dL2RmdIqg8
— Bowington Management (@BowingtonM) November 29, 2020
Prowse was cast as the iconic Vader for his imposing 6’6 frame, but the role was voiced by James Earl Jones.
Prowse made his screen debut in 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale playing Frankenstein’s Creature, a part he would reprise in Hammer films Horror Of Frankenstein and Frankenstein And the Monster From Hell.
He also regularly appeared on hit series such as The Saint, Space 1999 and Doctor Who.
Spotted by George Lucas in 1971 classic Clockwork Orange, in which he played a bodyguard, Prowse was invited to audition for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. He later told the BBC he chose the Sith Lord because ”you always remember the bad guys.’
The weightlifter-turned-actor is said to have been most proud of playing the Green Cross Code Man, a role promoting road safety in the UK, which earned him an MBE.
Brought up in Bristol, Prowse spent his later years living in Croydon, London.