British actor and former-weightlifter Dave Prowse has died at the age of 85.
He was best known for his iconic role as the Star Wars villain, Darth Vader.
“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 MBE has passed away at the age of 85,” said his agent Thomas Bowington.
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According to his agent, Prowse died following a short illness.
At 6ft 5in, Prowse was cast as Darth Vader due to his imposing figure.
He was originally offered the role of either Chewbacca or Darth Vader but Prowse decided to play the villain.
“Everyone remembers the villain,” he once told the BBC.
Born in Bristol in 1935, Dave Prowse developed an interest in body building. This led to him competing in Mr Universe competitions where he became friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.
He also won the British Heavyweight Weightlifting Championship three times.
Prowse was cast as Frankenstein’s Monster in the 1967 film Casino Royale and quickly developed a love of acting.
He also starred in A Clockwork Orange as well as several Hammer horror films.
Behind the camera Prowse become Christopher Reeve’s personal trailer for the original Superman film.
Back in 1975 he also became the face of the UK’s Green Cross Code Man.
This role brought his famous catchphrase of “Stop, look, listen” to audiences across the country.
But he will always be remembered as Darth Vader.
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Much of his screen time was inside the iconic Darth Vader suit. And while Prowse read his lines on set, they were dubbed over with the voice of James Earl Jones in post-production.
Many of his iconic fight scenes featured British Olympic fencer Bob Anderson.
And when Darth Vader’s helmet was finally removed in Return of the Jedi, his face was shown as British stage actor Sebastian Shaw.
“May the force be with him, always!” said Bovington.
“Though famous for playing many monsters – for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives.”