David Prowse- Original Darth Vader actor dies aged 85

The actor and former bodybuilder from Bristol best known for his role as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy has passed away at the age of 85.


His agent Thomas Bowington said the actor’s death, after a short illness, was “a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world”.


Prowse stared his career as a bodybuilder, In 1962 he won the British heavyweight weightlifting championships and he went on to represent England in the British Empire and commonwealth games in Perth Australia.

At an impressive 6ft 6′ tall, David cast an imposing shadow, and as such, secured multiple varied roles, he played many on-screen baddies and monsters over the years, including work on a Clockwork Orange, Doctor Who, Casino Royal, the Carry on films and of course the Star Wars trilogy to name but a few.

His long career saw him successfully play both ends of the spectrum, Ultimate baddie and Ultimate goodie. His work as the Green Cross Code man resulted in him being awarded an MBE. and this brought him a great deal of pride throughout his life.


A mighty presence


The role of Darth Vader in the original trilogy was a complicated one. James Earl Jones provided the voice, but it was David Prowse in the costume that we saw on our screens. This is because sadly David’s dulcet Bristolian tones were considered unsuitable for the part, and instead, the deep rumbling bass of James Earl Jones was overdubbed.

His enthusiasm for fitness endured throughout his career, later opening his own gym and training facilities.

He famously trained many actors and actresses including Christopher Reeve for his role as Superman in the 1978 movie, a part he had hoped that he would get himself, but again the Westcountry accent was blamed for him missing out, instead he trained Mr Reeve to play the part he had craved himself.

In a long and varied career spanning some 50 years, David brought to life many iconic monster roles, but it is for his work in the Star Wars Trilogy that he will be forever immortalised because as we all know,

You can be cool but you can never be Darth Vader entering a room to the sound of your own theme tune cool.

David will be missed by millions of fans worldwide, may the force be with you always, rest in peace superstar.




Article: Ema Murfin for Movie-Reliquary