Former weightlifter and actor best known for playing Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies has died, his agent has said
David “Dave” Prowse, the actor best known for playing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died at the age of 85, his agent has said.
Agent Thomas Bowington said: “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.”
Born in Bristol in 1935, Prowse was, according to IMDB, raised by his mother and never knew his father. He developed a passion for bodybuilding and weight training in his early teens and competed in Mr Universe competitions, where he became friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. He also shredded phone books under the stage-name Jack the Ripper.
He won the British heavyweight weightlifting championship three times and was selected to represent England at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia.
To add insult to injury, when Vader’s face was finally shown to audiences as he lay dying in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, producer George Lucas chose to cast the British stage actor Sebastian Shaw instead.
Prowse and Lucas later fell out, leading to Prowse being banned from official Star Wars activities in 2010
Despite the fame he won as Vader, Prowse said he was most proud of his role as the Green Cross Man in a long-running British road safety campaign, for which he was awarded and MBE in 2000.❐