The British actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy has died at the age of 85 after a brief illness.
David Prowse, a former bodybuilder, was best known for playing the legendary super villain in the original three George Lucas films.
The 6ft 6in actor from Bristol was cast as Vader for his physique, although the role was voiced by James Earl Jones.
But the bodybuilder turned actor took great pride in playing the Green Cross Code Man.
Appears on television advertisements to warn children of the dangers of crossing the street. The role earned him an MBE.
David Prowse, a former bodybuilder, was best known for playing the legendary super villain Darth Vader (pictured right: Prowse in Vader costume) in the original three Star Wars films. He also played the Green Cross Code Man, a role that earned him an MBE (picture left)
The iconic moment when Darth Vader reveals his true identity to his son Luke Skywalker in Empire Srikes Back, the second film in the Star Wars trilogy – 1980
The 6ft 6in actor from Bristol (pictured here in 1981) was cast as Vader for his physique, although the role was voiced by James Earl Jones
Prowse’s agent Thomas Bowington told the BBC today that “may the power be with him always”. Pictured here is Prowse signing autographs at a Star Wars celebration in Los Angeles 2007
David Prowse’s most notable roles in television and film
Casino Royale (1967) – Comedy Film – Frankenstein’s Monster (uncredited)
The Benny Hill Show (1969) – Muscleman in “Ye Olde Wishing Man Sketch”
A clockwork Orange (1971) – Julian
Carry On Henry (1971) – Bearded Torturer
Doctor Who (1972) – Minotaur
White Freight (1973) – Harry
Jabberwocky (1977) – Red Herring and Black Knights
Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) – Darth Vader
Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – Darth Vader
Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) – Darth Vader
The Kindness of Strangers (2010) – Frank Bryan
Prowse’s agent Thomas Bowington told the BBC that “may the power always be with him”.
“Although he is famous for playing a lot of monsters – to me and everyone who knew and worked with Dave, he was a hero in our lives.”
Mr Bowington called the actor’s death “a truly and deeply heartbreaking loss for us and millions of fans around the world”.
Prowse’s acting career lasted 50 years, but it was his role as Sith Lord in Star Wars that brought him international fame.
He was reportedly discovered by Star Wars director George Lucas while playing a bodyguard in the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange and was invited to audition for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca.
Although Prowse was the man behind the mask, he was considered unsuitable for the supervillain’s voice.
His lines were dubbed by the American actor James Earl Jones.
However, through his bodybuilding, he befriended Hollywood giants Arnold Schwarzenegger and the original Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno.
Prowse represented England at the Commonwealth Games in the early 1960s.
Since then, Prowse has received accolades, including from fans, top names within and outside the film industry.
Film director Edgar Wright described him as the man who “stopped a generation of children from being mowed on the streets”.
‘As a kid, Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; Stalking through corridors as the evil incarnation in the role of Darth Vader & preventing an entire generation of children from being mowed on the street as the Green Cross Code man. Rest in peace, Bristol’s finest. ‘
The Peter Mayhew Foundation Twitter account, set up to commemorate the actor who played Chewbacca, shared a picture of Prowse with Mayhew and her co-star Kenny Baker.
‘RIP Dave Prowse. Hope you’re up there sharing a beer and a story with the guys. ‘
Publicist Consetta Parker said: “I am very sad to hear the news of David Prowse’s death. In the short time I’ve worked with him, he’s just been kind to me.
“I enjoyed Star Wars so much and have been my friend since I was a little girl.
“Working with Darth Vader will be a memory that is very dear to my heart.”
TV host and news reporter Jay Shatara said, “It was so much fun watching the videos where he played the lines before James dubbed Earl Jones. RIP David Prowse.
The man behind the mask: David Prowse died at the age of 85 after a brief battle with the disease. Pictured: Prowse plays the famous Vader ‘Force Choke’ from the movie
Prowse’s acting career lasted 50 years, but it was his role as Sith Lord in Star Wars that brought him international fame
Although Prowse was the man behind the mask, he was not considered suitable for the supervillain voice. His lines were dubbed by the American actor James Earl Jones
Actor Joe Manganiello said: ‘David Prowse as Darth Vader was BRILLIANT. He was incredibly magical in that suit.
“I’ve seen Empire so many times with the sound off just to see it move.
‘His physical choices were as iconic to me as James’ voice and other than that he was such a nice man. REST IN PEACE.’
Another professional wrestler, CM Punk, said: ‘Sorry to hear about David Prowse’s death. Star Wars was a huge part of my childhood, all actors were heroes to me.
‘From Porkins to Vader. All heroes. Rest in power, Lord Vader. ‘
Another American wrestler, Frankie Kazarian, said: ‘RIP David Prowse. A gentleman and a scholar and the man responsible for bringing the physicality to the most iconic villain in the history of cinema. Darth Vader. Godspeed sir. ‘
Star Wars fans also took to Twitter to pay tribute to the actor who played an iconic role in the original trilogy of science fiction films.
One said, “I just heard that the wonderful David Prowse has died. While I loved James Earl Jones’ voice, I think we forget how much physical performance David put into the role. Rest in peace.’
Another said, “So much about what makes Darth Vader so intimate is thanks to David Prowse. He gave the Sith Lord a physicality that would make him an icon.
“What a legacy to leave behind. Rest in peace, David Prowse. You were a powerhouse. ‘
Another added: “Rest in peace, David Prowse. Thank you for bringing Darth Vader to life.
‘Because they have been a fan favorite among Star Wars fans for generations. May the force be with you.’
A Twitter user who took care of Prowse at a science fiction convention for the past few years said, “I took care of David Prowse at a comic / sci-fi convention a few years ago.
I bought him drinks and fruit; he asked me to come to all of his conventions with him.
“It was a bittersweet day and I will always remember it fondly with #TheForceIsWithYouAlways”.
Others paid tribute to Prowse’s role as the Green Cross Code Man. Chris Ward said on Twitter, ‘RIP David Prowse, aka Green Cross Code Man. We all remember it as children.
“The man was an icon and such a talent in the film industry.”
The Green Cross Code Man: The Role David Prowse was most proud of, that helped save children’s lives and earned him an MBE
David Prowse played the Green Cross Code Man – initially before his role in Star Wars.
The Green Cross Code Man was a series created as part of a wider awareness campaign about the Green Cross Code – a brand launched by the National Road Safety Committee to raise awareness about the safety of pedestrians in the United Sharpening Kingdom. The code procedure, introduced in 1971, was developed to enable pedestrians to cross streets safely and is aimed specifically at children.
Road safety chiefs were concerned because at the time children made up half of all victims on the street.
The code seemed to work immediately, and losses were down 11 percent. But six months later they had gone up to the previous rate.
The Green Cross Code Man ran between 1975 and 1990 as a series of television commercials to promote the campaign.
David Prowse played the Green Cross Code Man – initially before his role in Star Wars.
In the advertisements, the character has the option of teleporting from his surveillance station at ‘Green Cross Control’ to any location where children need pedestrian safety instructions.
He achieves this with a wristwatch-like “dematerializer”
In 1975 the number of children killed on the streets had fallen to 505, the lowest level since the 1950s.
By 2003 – a few years after the TV advertising campaign ended – there were 171 children.
In 2014, the Green Cross Code Man franchise was revived, with Prowse playing the character in two advertisements produced for Road Safety Week in the UK when he was 80 years old.
The campaign was aimed at young adults, warning them of the dangers of using their cell phones near streets.
Prowse was awarded an MBE for its role in the campaign.
The group behind the campaign is now known as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
“Hemorrhoids don’t concern me, Admiral”: David Prowse admits that he deliberately messed up his lines as Darth Vader while filming Star Wars
By Ross McDonagh for DailyMail.com
They’re big, intrusive, and – for Imperial Star Destroyers – certainly a bum pain.
David Prowse revealed in 2018 how he deliberately messed up his lines as Darth Vader while filming Star Wars.
The actor even admitted that he replaced “asteroids” with “hemorrhoids” in a particularly tense scene in The Empire Strikes Back.
As part of his “These Are the Actors You’re Looking For” series, which he chases after the stars of the original films, Jamie Stangroom challenged the actor with the rumor that he invented his own dialogue behind Vader’s mask.
Prowse found out after the publication of A New Hope in 1977 that George Lucas had dubbed his supplied lines with the voice of James Earl Jones.
In the 1980 sequel, he admitted he was having a bit of fun with the script, including a scene where a concerned Admiral Piett came to inform the Sith Lord – who had just strangled his superior to death – that that they lost the Millennium Falcon in an asteroid field.
“Asteroids don’t affect me, Admiral, I want this ship,” Star Wars fans recalled the infamous line. but Prowse admitted that he delivered it a little differently.
“I think I said,” Hemorrhoids don’t affect me; I need some shit, he reminded himself.
How the actor Kenneth Colley, who played the newly promoted Imperial Admiral, kept a serious face remains a mystery – especially since the Dark Lord of the Sith was sitting in his “personal meditation chamber” at the time.
“This is the very first time anything has been said outside,” he laughed. “They have an exclusive there.”
While Prowse admitted that James Earl Jones did an admirable job, he believes he could have done a good trick – and was recently in a studio taping all of Vader’s dialogue for a project.
“A lot of goofy stories got around saying they didn’t like my Bristol accent … but I didn’t go around saying, ‘Oh, dear, I’m going to do it with my lightsaber now” he smiled in his thickest brogue .
Former Green Cross Code legend claimed he was “ostracized” by director George Lucas and has not spoken to him since the Jedi returned in 1983.
Prowse had been accused of giving the press details of the plot – something he denies – to the point where he was given an alternate line to read during the climax of The Empire Strikes Back saying that Luke Obi-Wan Kenobi had killed his father sooner than the shock reveals that Luke is Vader’s son.
“Stupid things like they stopped me from doing the Disney Star Wars weekends … I loved doing Disney Star Wars,” lamented Prowse.
When asked what he would say to George Lucas if he had the chance, he would say, “I would like to know the reasons for the problems I was having.”