On Saturday the 28th of December, the actor David Prowse, best known for portraying Darth Vader in Star Wars, passed away aged 85.
Prior to fame, David Prowse was a British weightlifter and bodybuilder. He represented England in a weightlifting competition at the Commonwealth Games in the early 1960s. After this, Prowse transitioned into acting landing a role on UK television as the first Green Cross Code Man, a character that was used for safety advertising aimed at children. In 2000, Prowse received an MBE for this role. David Prowse made his film debut in the 1967 James Bond film, and then went on to star as Frankenstein’s monster three times due to his 6ft 6in physique.
When being offered a role for the original Star Wars trilogy, he was told “There’s a character called Chewbacca, which is like a huge teddy bear, or alternatively, there’s the main villain in the piece.” Prowse replied with, “Well, there’s no choice, is there? Thank you very much, I’ll have the villain’s piece.” Prowse portrayed Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, however was only the physical portrayal of the villain due to his accent. The character’s voice was performed by American actor James Earl Jones.
Since his death, many celebrities and fans have tweeted messages and pictures in tribute to him. Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, tweeted “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.”