Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse dies aged 85

Dave Prowse, the Bristol actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died aged 85.

The weightlifter-turned-actor, who also earned an MBE for playing the Green Cross Code Man to promote road safety, died after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said in a Facebook post.

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Dave Prowse
13th January 1978: A potential client admires Dave Prowse who works in the keep-fit department of Harrods. He also plays the role of Darth Vader in Star Wars. (Photo by Colin Davey/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
Actor Dave Prowse, who plays Darth Vader in Star Wars, in his role as the Green Cross Code Man, with youngsters from Lambeth Johanna Primary School, London, at the launch of the London Accident Prevention Council's road safety campaign 'Mind That Child'. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Dave Prowse (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
Six foot six inch actor David Prowse who plays Star Wars villain Darth Vader in the famous film trilogy, poses with 3 ft8 Kenny Baker (who portrays the robot character R2-D2) and 4 ft 2 inch Jack Purvis (who portrayed Teebo), 6th September 1985. . (Photo by Bill Rowntree/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
English bodybuilder and actor, Dave Prowse, flexes his muscles, 23rd July 1981. Prowse is best known for playing Darth Vader in the original 'Star Wars' trilogy. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Dave Prowse who was Darth Vader in Star Wars signs autographs at the London Film and Comic Con at Earls Court, London. (Photo by Sean Dempsey/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 16: Dave Prowse aka Darth Vader attends the Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards at Indigo2 at O2 Arena on June 16, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)
FILE - In this file photo dated Friday, May 7, 1999, Dave Prowse, the original Darth Vader from the "Star Wars Trilogy," poses during the New York Comic and Fantasy Creators Convention. The British actor, Prowse who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died aged 85 on Saturday, according to an announcement by his agent Sunday Nov. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Lynsey Addario, FILE)
Dave Prowse who was Darth Vader in Star Wars signs autographs at the London Film and Comic Con at Earls Court, London.
File photo dated 16/10/99 of Dave Prowse at the opening of Collect '99 at Wembley Exhibition Centre in London. Dave Prowse, the Bristol actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died aged 85.
File photo dated 23/07/81 of Dave Prowse alongside The Rose Medallion co-star Anna Nicholas. Dave Prowse, the Bristol actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died aged 85.
File photo dated 30/05/83 of Dave Prowse, the Bristol actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, who has died aged 85.
Weight-lifting champion David Prowse, 27, of Southmead, Bristol, trains in his home town for the Empire Games to be held in Perth, Australia.
Wrestler Mick McManus (c) enlists two Penthouse Pets, Mary Crossley (l) and Hazel Perring (r), to help him lift a 276lb weight in Dave Prowse's exercise advice centre
Dave Prowse who was Darth Vader in Star Wars signs autographs at the London Film and Comic Con at Earls Court, London.
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Prowse won the role playing Vader due to his impressive 6ft 6in physique, but with his West Country accent deemed not quite suitable, the part was instead voiced by James Earl Jones.

"May the force be with him, always!" Mr Bowington said in a statement 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."

Mr Bowington called the actor's death, after a short illness, "a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world".

It's with great sadness that we have to announce that our clientDAVE PROWSE M.B.E.Passed away yesterday morning at the age of 85.

Posted by Bowington Management on Saturday, November 28, 2020

Prowse represented England in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games in the early 1960s before embarking on an acting career.

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".

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