David Prowse, The Actor Who Played Darth Vader, Dies Aged 85
Comic Years Logo

David Prowse, The Actor Who Played Darth Vader, Dies Aged 85

author img
BY November 29, 2020

When we think of Darth Vader, we often do so in the iconic voice of James Earl Jones. However, another actor first brought the Sith Lord to life. David Prowse, who played Darth Vader on the set, passed away this week at the age of 85. From Bristol, England, David Prowse made his mark on the world long before he donned the armor of the dark lord. He and his brother dedicated their lives to physical fitness. When they opened their family chain of gyms, personal fitness training was still a very new business. However, it was his imposing physique that inspired George Lucas to bring him in to audition for Vader and Chewbacca. Prowse often said he chose the Vader role, because kids better remember the bad guys.

However, even without Darth Vader on his résumé, David Prowse would be well remembered. Along with his pioneering personal training business, Prowse found himself drawn to film production. Prowse worked with Christopher Reeve, helping the Juilliard-trained thespian bulk up to play Superman in Richard Donner’s film. He appeared as a menacing bodyguard in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (where Lucas, reportedly, first saw him). He appeared in other genre classics like Doctor Who, the Hammer film series, and other cult classics. Also, from his time as a weightlifter, he became friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. Yup, just Darth Vader chilling with the Terminator and the Hulk.

Prowse reportedly passed away after “a short illness.”

As the BBC reports:

“Prowse…was most proud of playing the Green Cross Code Man. The role, promoting road safety in the UK, earned him an MBE.

“’May the force be with him, always!’ said his agent Thomas Bowington. ‘Though famous for playing many monsters – for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives.’”

The Green Cross Man was a public safety superhero, costume and all, who would warn kids about being careful in the street. “Stop, look, and listen,” was his slogan. Along with a series of television and radio public service announcements, Prowse would also meet with kids in person at events.

David Prowse wrote an autobiography, titled Straight from the Force’s Mouth, in 2011. Mark Hamill and others in the industry took to Twitter to share their memories of the man.

What do you think? Share your thoughts, reactions, and memories in the comments below.

Featured image via PA Media

Pop Culture

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

Darth VaderDavid ProwseStar Wars

Leave a comment


BooksPop CultureTV Shows
Will We See Legends Characters Like Thrawn and Mara Jade In the Mandalorian?

Could we see Star Wars Legends like Mara Jade in The Mandalorian? Fans have been clamoring to see Mara Jade onscreen for years. Now we might be a step closer to seeing her come to […]

BY Emily O'Donnell September 13, 2019
MoviesPop Culture
Kelly Marie Tran Offers First Reaction to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Lack of Screen Time for Rose

The Oscars are not just about the winners, it’s also a chance to get answers. Actors, directors, and executives are, sometimes, off their guard. Entertainment journalists can get more candid answers about touchy subjects more […]

BY Joshua M. Patton February 11, 2020
Pop CultureTV Shows
Disney+ Releases Final Season Trailer for The Clone Wars Promises Epic Ending to Beloved Series

Over the next two weeks, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will end its theatrical run. This means that, once again, it’s possible we will never see a Skywalker on the big screen again. However, […]

BY Joshua M. Patton January 22, 2020

Rail Ad Editorial Content

Rail Ad