David Prowse dead: Darth Vader actor dies at the age of 85

Michael Howie
·2-min read
<p>David Prowse played the character of Darth Vader in the first Star Wars trilogy</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

David Prowse played the character of Darth Vader in the first Star Wars trilogy

(AFP via Getty Images)

Actor David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died age 85.

The news was announced by his agent on Sunday morning.

May the force be with him, always!" said 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."

<p>David Prowse signing autographs in Los Angeles</p>REUTERS

David Prowse signing autographs in Los Angeles

REUTERS

Mr Bowington said the actor had suffered a short illness. He described Prowse’s death as "a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world".

In a statement posted on Twitter, Bowington Management said: “It's with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and million of fans around the world, to announce that our client DAVE PROWSE M.B.E. has passed away at the age of 85.”

Prowse’s imposing physique - he measured 6ft 6in - landed him the role in the iconic black suit. However his Bristolian accent was deemed not suitable to voice the part. That was given to the American actor James Earl Jones.

Prowse represented England in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games in the early 1960s before embarking on an acting career, earning an MBE for playing the Green Cross Code Man to promote road safety.

He was reportedly spotted by Star Wars director George Lucas when playing a bodyguard in the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, and invited to audition for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca.

He once told the BBC he chose Vader over his hairy co-star because "you always remember the bad guys".