David Prowse, the actor/bodybuilder who gave Darth Vader physical form in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died at the age of 85. Star Wars star Mark Hamill, who played Darth Vader's son Luke Skywalker, took to Twitter to share photos and his own personal remembrance of Prowse. "So sad to hear David Prowse has passed," Hamill said on Twitter. "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"
Prowse was a competitive weightlifter alongside the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. He spent 50 years as an actor. His role as Darth Vader will always be his most memorable, but he also appeared in A Clockwork Orange and helped train Christopher Reeve to play Superman.
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 pic.twitter.com/VbDrGu6iBz— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 29, 2020
Prowse’s agent Thomas Bowington shared his thoughts about the actor with the BBC. "May the force be with him, always!" Bowington said. "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 called the untimely tragedy, "a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world."
During casting for Star Wars, Prowse had his choice of playing Darth Vader or Chewbacca. In 2013, he told NPR why he chose to go with the villain.
“What happened actually is my agent rang me up and said there’s a gentleman in town called George Lucas who would very much like to see you,” he said. “So, I went out to see him and meet up with him. He took me into a room and showed me all these conceptual drawings. He said, ‘I would like to offer you one of two parts in this movie I’m doing. The first one is a character called Chewbacca.' I said, ‘What in the h*** is Chewbacca?’ 'He goes through the film on the side of the goodies, you see?' I heard that and said, ‘Three months in a gorilla skin? No, thank you very much!’
“'The other one is called Darth Vader. He’s the big villain of the film, you see?' I said, 'Don’t say anymore George, I’ll have the villain’s part. He said, ‘Tell me why?’ Think back on all the movies you’ve ever seen when there’s good guys and bad guys. You always remember the bad guy!”
Cover photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images