David Prowse, the legendary actor who played the now-iconic role of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films, has passed away at the age of 85, his management company announced on Sunday.
It has been confirmed that Prowse died after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington stated. It is not yet known if the illness is related to the actor’s previous battle with cancer. “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,” Bowington Management said on Twitter Sunday.
“May the force be with him, always!” former agent, Bowington said in another statement which was issued to the BBC. “Though famous for playing many monsters—for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives,” he added.
Prowse, who started life as a champion weightlifter, moved into the world of acting in the early 1970s and soon found a role in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece A Clockwork Orange in 1971. Soon after, and building up his CV, he teamed up with George Lucas to become the original Darth Vader. Prowse is now etched into the annals of sci-fi history, continually playing the physical form of the character in the original Star Wars trilogy.
While tributes continue to pour in for Prowse, Mark Hammil took to social media to remember the actor: “So sad to hear David Prowse has passed,” he wrote. He was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader. Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him.”
Director Edgar Wright also paid tribute to Prowse on Twitter, writing: “As a kid Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader and stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man,” he wrote. “Rest in Peace, Bristol’s finest.”