Dave Prowse dies at 85

Fellow Star Wars cast members pay tribute

by Jennie Kermode

Dave Prowse as Darth Vader
Dave Prowse as Darth Vader

He was the bodybuilder from Bristol who became a legend in a galaxy far, far away. Dave Prowse, best known for his iconic role as Darth Vader in the first three Star Wars films, has died at the age of 85, his agent revealed today.

"So sad to hear David Prowse has passed," tweeted Mark Hamill. "He was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader. Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-three time British Weightlifting Champion and Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him."

Dave Prowse as the Green Cross Code man
Dave Prowse as the Green Cross Code man

"I don’t think 3PO ever faced Vader’s mighty presence on set, other than as a bag of bits on Chewie’s shoulders in the carbon freezer," said Anthony Daniels. "But Dave’s iconic figure dominated the finished film in '77 and has done so ever since."

As well as playing the formidable Sith lord, Prowse had several other notable acting roles. He credited Stanley Kubrick with opening up the world of film to him after he was cast in A Clockwork Orange, he starred alongside Peter Cushing in Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell and he appeared with the Sex Pistols in Who Killed Bambi? He made several appearances in popular Seventies science fiction TV series The Tomorrow People and starred opposite Jon Pertwee in Doctor Who.To a generation of children he was known as the Green Cross Code man, urging them to stop, look and listen before crossing the road. It was this latter role that he said he loved the most.

Prowse also influenced Hollywood history by training Christopher Reeve for his role as Superman, and he received an MBE in 2000. He toured the Star Wars convention circuit for four decades, meeting fans and signing autographs, and in 2011 he published an autobiography, Straight From The Force's Mouth.

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