David Prowse, the actor who played the iconic character of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, passed away on November 28, 2020, at the age of 85. While Prowse’s face was never seen on-screen in the Star Wars films, his imposing physical presence and deep voice made him an unforgettable part of the franchise.
Prowse was born in Bristol, England, in 1935, and began bodybuilding at a young age. He won the British heavyweight weightlifting championship in 1962, and went on to represent England at the Commonwealth Games. He later became a personal trainer and helped train several actors, including Christopher Reeve for his role as Superman.
Prowse’s acting career began in the 1960s, when he appeared in a number of British television shows and films. He played a bodyguard in the James Bond film “Casino Royale” in 1967 and had a small role in Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” in 1971.
However, it was his role as Darth Vader that made him a household name. Prowse was initially approached to play the character of Chewbacca, but he chose to play Vader instead, believing that the character would be more memorable. While James Earl Jones provided the character’s voice, it was Prowse who brought the physicality and presence to the role.
Prowse played Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy – “Star Wars” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), and “Return of the Jedi” (1983) – as well as in several other Star Wars-related projects. Despite his contributions to the franchise, Prowse had a strained relationship with director George Lucas and was banned from official Star Wars conventions in 2010.
Outside of Star Wars, Prowse continued to act and appeared in a number of films and TV shows. He also made frequent public appearances and was known for his charitable work, particularly with children’s hospitals.
Prowse’s death was met with an outpouring of tributes from fans and colleagues. Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films, described Prowse as “a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.” Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo in the original trilogy, said that Prowse was “a kind and generous man.”
David Prowse may be gone, but his contributions to the world of film and his unforgettable portrayal of Darth Vader will live on.
Despite his iconic role in Star Wars, David Prowse continued to act in a variety of other films and television shows throughout his career. He appeared in movies like A Clockwork Orange, The Horror of Frankenstein, and Vampire Circus. He also had guest roles on popular TV shows such as Doctor Who, The Saint, and Space: 1999.
In addition to his acting career, Prowse was also a successful weightlifter and bodybuilder, winning the British heavyweight weightlifting championship in 1962. He also trained several celebrities, including Christopher Reeve for his role as Superman.
David Prowse passed away on November 28, 2020, at the age of 85. Despite his passing, his legacy as Darth Vader will continue to live on, with fans and future generations continuing to be captivated by his imposing presence and powerful performance in the Star Wars franchise.