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R.I.P.: Dave Prowse (Darth Vader on-screen actor) [message #402487] Sun, 29 November 2020 01:41
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Dave Prowse: Darth Vader actor dies aged 85
Dave Prowse, the Bristolian former bodybuilder best known for
playing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has
died aged 85.

Prowse was cast as Vader for his imposing physique, even
though the role was voiced by James Earl Jones.

But the weightlifter-turned-actor 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

"Though famous for playing many monsters - for myself, and all
who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives."

Mr Bowington called the actor's death, after a short illness,
"a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of
fans all over the world".

Definitive Presence
Prowse's career as an actor spanned 50 years, but it was his
role as the Sith Lord in Star Wars that brought him
international fame.

Unfortunately, his West Country accent was not deemed suitable
for the part of a menacing Hollywood villain and his lines were

However, Prowse was a definitive presence in all three of the
early films, thanks to his hulking 6ft 6in (1.98 m) frame,
honed by the weightlifting skills which saw him represent
England at the Commonwealth Games in the early 1960s.

During this period, he reportedly became close friends with
rival bodybuilding competitors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou
Ferrigno (later better known as TV's Incredible Hulk) - long
before their on-screen fame.

Even before he began acting, Prowse found success in Hollywood
circles, preparing the late Christopher Reeve for the physical
demands of his role as Superman, as the actor's personal

Prowse made his film debut in 1967 James Bond spoof Casino
Royale playing Frankenstein's Creature, a part he was asked to
play again in two films from the iconic Hammer film series,
1970's Horror Of Frankenstein and 1974's Frankenstein and the
Monster From Hell.

He also regularly featured on cult series such as The Saint,
Space 1999 and Doctor Who, in which he was cast as a minotaur
in the 1972 episode The Time Monster, opposite Jon Pertwee.

Spotted by director George Lucas in the 1971 film Clockwork
Orange, in which he played a bodyguard, Prowse was invited to
audition for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca in 1977's
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.

He later told the BBC's Tanya Beckett, he chose Vader over
Chewbacca because "you always remember the bad guys."

With the success of Star Wars, Prowse became a regular on the
fan circuit and attended conventions around the world for
almost 40 years, but he was rumoured to have later fallen out
with director Lucas and was banned from official events in

Despite the enduring clamour for Star Wars, the actor always
maintained that playing the Green Cross Code Man, which he
first portrayed in 1975, was the "best job I ever had".

Dressed in a distinctive green and white superhero suit, he
became the face of British road safety for more than a decade,
known for his catchphrase "Stop, look and listen".

Brought up in Bristol, he spent his later years living in
Croydon "a loving husband, father and grandfather".

His autobiography Straight from the Force's Mouth was published
in 2011.

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