British actor Dave Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, has died at age 85 “after a brief illness,” his agent confirmed this Sunday.
Thomas Bowington, his representative, announced “with great sadness” the death of Prowse in a message posted on his Facebook page, stating that he died “yesterday morning”, with hardly any details, and adding the famous phrase: ” May the force be with you, always. ”
Prowse, who before moving to the world of cinema had been a bodybuilder in the English city of Bristol, also came to be awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his role in the Green Cross Code Man, which promoted road safety in the roads of this country.
The work that gave him international celebrity was that of Vader in the famous trilogy, a role he won due to his imposing physique – he was 1.98 meters tall – although his strong English West Country accent was not entirely suitable for the franchise, for which it was dubbed by James Earl Jones.
“Although he was famous for playing many monsters, for me and for all of us who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives,” Bowington said in another statement to the BBC. The agent called Prowse’s passing “a profound and truly painful loss for millions of fans around the world.”
Before beginning his film career, Prowse came to represent England in weightlifting at the Commonwwealth Games in the early 1960s.
Apparently, the director of ‘Star Wars’, George Lucas, set his sights on him for the role of Darth Vader when he saw him playing a bodyguard in the film ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (1970), where he invited him to stand for selection processes for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca.
But even before beginning his acting career, which spanned five decades, his services were sought after within Hollywood circles, where he helped the late Christopher Reeve prepare for the physical demands of the role of Superman, as his personal trainer.
Prowse made his debut in front of the cameras in the parody of the film ‘Casino Royale’, from the saga of the British spy James Bond, in 1967, where he played the creature of Frankenstein, a role that he was asked to play in two other films.
He also appeared regularly in several television series considered “cult”, such as ‘The Saint Space’ (1999) and ‘Doctor Who’, in which he played the minotaur, in 1972.