Darth Vader has died.
Or, at least the man who played one of the most famous evil characters ever to appear on the silver screen that is.
British bodybuilder David Prowse, 85 at the time of his death, shot to fame after he was cast to play the Star Wars ‘baddie’ because of his impressive weightlifter’s physique in the 1970s, although he himself never actually got to speak in the films; the character was voiced by American James Earl Jones.
Once news of his death was made public, Mark Hamill, who played the role of Luke Skywalker around which many of the Star Wars sequels / prequels etc. were based Tweeted that he was “so sad” and that “(He) was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader,” and “(He) loved his fans as much as they loved him.”
Also taking to Twitter, another British actor on the original cast, Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO said “Dave’s iconic figure dominated the finished film in ’77 and has done so ever since,”
David Prowse stood 1.98 m tall, and his weightlifting talents eventually saw him represent England at international competitions.
It was on the weightlifting circuit that he became friends with the man later identified around the world as the Terminator – Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Incredible Hulk – Lou Ferrigno, but he was never one to let fame, and fortune go to his head.
Of all his memorable roles, Mr. Prowse is reported to have seen his role as the Green Cross Code Man as the most important – a UK wide character who from 1970s through the latter part of the 20th century went into every home in the country via television to help promote road safety.
It was a role that eventually earned him an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II, and was the “best job I ever had” Mr. Prowse himself once said.
“May the force be with him, always!” his agent Mr. Bowington added.