Dave Prowse, actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, dies at 85

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David Prowse died Saturday after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said Sunday.

Dave Prowse, actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, dies at 85

David Prowse | Image from Twitter

Dave Prowse, the British weightlifter-turned-actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died. He was 85.

Prowse died Saturday after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said Sunday. “May the force be with him, always! Though famous for playing many monsters – for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives,” he said, according to the BBC.

Born in Bristol, southwest England, in 1935, Prowse represented England in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games in the 1950s before breaking into movies with roles that emphasised his commanding size, including Frankenstein’s monster in Horror Of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974).

Director George Lucas saw Prowse in a small part in A Clockwork Orange and asked the 6-foot-6-inch (2-meter) actor to audition for the villainous Vader or the wookie Chewbacca in Star Wars.

Prowse later told the BBC he chose Darth Vader because “you always remember the bad guys.” Physically, Prowse was perfect for the part.

His lilting English West Country accent was considered less ideal, and his lines were dubbed by James Earl Jones.

Prowse was also known to a generation of British children as the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero in a series of road safety advertisements Ant-Man director Edgar Wright paid tribute to Prowse on Twitter. Mark Hamill, known for playing Luke Skywalker in Star Wars and others also mourned the actor’s demise.

Prowse’s autobiography Straight from the Force’s Mouth was published in 2011.

(With inputs from The Associated Press)

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