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Dave Prowse, Star Wars' Original Darth Vader, Has Died Aged 85

Daniel Welsh
·Entertainment Reporter
·2-min read

Star Wars actor Dave Prowse, best known for portraying Darth Vader in the original sci-fi trilogy, has died at the age of 85.

Dave appeared as the villainous Darth Vader in the first three Star Wars films, with James Earl Jones providing the character’s voice.

His agent said that Dave – who previously trained as a weightlifter before turning to acting – had died on Saturday, following a short illness.

Dave Prowse pictured in 2008 (Photo: Julian Makey/Shutterstock)
Dave Prowse pictured in 2008 (Photo: Julian Makey/Shutterstock)

“May the force be with him, always!” his agent Thomas Bowington said in a statement.

“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 went on to describe Dave’s death as a “truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world”.

In the early 1960s, Dave represented England in the weightlifting field at the Commonwealth Games, and years later decided to break into the world of acting.

He eventually won the role of Darth Vader after Star Wars producers were impressed by his 6′6″ physique, but the franchise’s creator George Lucas wasn’t sure Dave’s voice (or West Country accent) were right for the role, which is why James Earl Jones was later cast.

It’s said that Dave was invited to audition for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca after George Lucas spotted the actor playing a bodyguard in the film A Clockwork Orange.

Asked why he opted to play Darth Vader over Chewie, the star claimed: “You always remember the bad guys.”

Dave was also the subject of the 2015 documentary I Am Your Father.

Dave Prowse received an MBE for services to charity and road safety from Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 (Photo: PA)
Dave Prowse received an MBE for services to charity and road safety from Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 (Photo: PA)

Some may also remember Dave as the first ever Green Cross Code man, a character invented to help children better understand road safety.

Because of this campaign, he was awarded an MBE in 2000.

Dave is survived by his wife, Norma, and their three children.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.