David Prowse Dead, Darth Vader Actor Dies After ‘Short Illness’ At 85

David Prowse attends the I Am Your Father' photocall at the Verdi cinema on November 18, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.
Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

David Prowse is dead. The legendary actor’s death was announced by his agent, Thomas Bowington, in a Twitter update on November 29. The actor was 85 at the time of his death, on November 28.

He was best known for his portrayal of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. Over an acting career that spanned more than five decades, he also starred in other blockbusters such as Clockwork Orange and the 1967 version of Casino Royale where he was cast as Frankenstein’s Monster. In the U.K., the star portrayed the role of the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero promoting road awareness for kids. The performer was also a prominent trainer and worked with Christopher Reeve for Superman: The Movie and its sequels, and also trained Cary Elwes for The Princess Bride.

“It’s with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and million [sic] of fans around the world, to announce that our client DAVE PROWSE M.B.E. has passed away at the age of 85,” reads a statement from the management agency. Later, Bowington retweeted a newspaper outlet’s article, and its caption confirmed that the Darth Vader actor died after a short illness.

In 2009, Prowse was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After a year-long battle with the disease, he told The Mirror that he was in remission after battling the disease for nearly a year.


Prowse Rose From Poverty To Winning Mr. Universe

David Prowse works in the keep-fit department of Harrods. He also plays the role of Darth Vader in Star Wars.
  Colin Davey / Getty Images

According to IMDb, Prowse was born and raised in Bristol, England. His father died of duodenal cancer when he was just 5 years old and he had an impoverished and disadvantaged upbringing. In an interview with Joel Eisenberg seen on Medium, he revealed why he started lifting weights. He relayed that as a 13-year-old, he spent a year in the hospital for his knee and he was in pain. He wore a leg brace until he was about 15-and-a-half. He was encouraged to exercise because he had “shot up” from 5’9″ to 6’5″ after the brace was removed.

“It took me nine years to go from weighing, I think, about 160 at 6’5″, to entering the Mr. Universe contest, or being invited to enter the Mr. Universe contest,” he said.


Prowse Was The Face, Not The Voice, Of Darth Vader

Darth Vader and two stormtroopers from the film 'Star Wars' stand menacingly over some road works in London's Oxford Street.
  Getty Images

Prowse made the character of Darth Vader his own and played Luke Skywalker’s nemesis. American actor, James Earl Jones’ voice was dubbed over Prowse’s voice for the movies.

Before Star Wars was made, the performer met with director George Lucas. At the time, the film was not considered a big thing. Lucas offered him either the part of Chewbacca or Darth Vader. He made an immediate decision to take the role of the bad guy.

“Everyone remembers the villain, George,” he famously told Lucas.

Peter Mayhew, who ended up playing the role of Chewbacca, died last year, as reported by The Inquisitr.


Prowse Taught Children Road Safety As The Green Cross Code Man For Over A Decade

Dave Prowse as the Green Cross Man for a road safety campaign aimed at children promoting 'The Green Cross Code'.
  Getty Images

In Great Britain, the celeb is also synonymous with the Green Cross Code Man. He got the part a short time before he made his first appearance as Darth Vader.

“I was offered the part of this character, which is like a Superman-type character in a series of road safety commercials for children,” the celeb told Eisenberg.

“The campaign eventually became one of the most successful safety campaigns that there’s ever been. I did it over 14 years. And in 14 years I went to 700 cities throughout the world. I went to 2000 schools,” the performer said.

Prowse married Norma E. Scammell in 1963 and they had three children together. They remained married until his death.