David Prowse, the original Darth Vader in the Star Wars trilogy, has died. He was 85.
As confirmed by CNN, Prowse, who began treatment for prostate cancer in 2018, succumbed after a short illness, according to his agent, Thomas Bowington. "May the force be with him, always!" Bowington said in a statement to BBC News. "Though famous for playing many monsters -- for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives."
The unfortunate news came via Prowse’s management, Bowington Management, on Sunday (November 29). "It's with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and million[s] of fans around the world, to announce that our client DAVE PROWSE M.B.E. has passed away at the age of 85," the company tweeted early this morning.
As fans know, James Earl Jones voiced the role of the space villain, but it was the British actor — who stood 6 feet, 7 inches tall — who wore the black suit and helmet to portray the Star Wars character in all three of the original films in 1977, 1980 and 1983.
Among the stars to pay tribute to Prowse was Mark Hamill, who played Vader's son, Luke Skywalker, in the sci-fi film franchise.
"So sad to hear David Prowse has passed," Hamill tweeted with a series of photos of Prowse. "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."
In a 2013 interview with BBC News, Prowse revealed that he was asked to try out for the role of Chewbacca in the science fiction film franchise after director George Lucas watched him in 1971’s A Clockwork Orange. Prowse told the outlet he chose Vader instead because “you always remember the bad guys.”
Prowse’s other acting credits include Doctor Who, The Saint and as Britain’s Green Cross Code Man, a character created in the ‘70s to teach children about road safety.
He is survived by his wife, Norma, and three children.
Photo: Getty Images