Actor David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars movies, has died at 85 following a short illness, his family and management confirmed on Saturday evening.
Prowse’s death is “a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world,” the actor’s agent Thomas Bowington told the BBC.
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Prowse was best known for his role as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars film trilogy that included A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Legend has it Prowse was given alternate lines to say in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi so the big reveal in the movies would be kept secret. But because of his prominent UK accent, his voice was considered unsuitable for the part of the intimidating sci-fi villain, so his dialog was dubbed over by the voice of actor James Earl Jones.
Prowse was also famous for his role as UK road safety character Green Cross Code Man, who reminded kids to “Stop, look and listen” before crossing a street. This role earned him the coveted award Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Prowse’s long career included memorable characters in the films A Clockwork Orange, Horror of Frankenstein and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, as well as the TV shows The Saint, Space 1999 and Doctor Who.
He published his autobiography Straight from the Force’s Mouth in 2011.
“So sad to hear David Prowse has passed,” fellow Star Wars actor Mark Hamill tweeted on Sunday. “He was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader … He loved his fans as much as they loved him.”
Young Boba Fett actor Daniel Logan also paid tribute. “Sad to hear of the passing of a Star Wars family member – RIP Dave Prowse,” Logan tweeted. “Darth Vader wouldn’t be the same without you in the costume.”
Star Wars fans took to social media to pay tribute to Prowse and his legacy. Here are some of their comments.