"He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature."
David Prowse, the British 6'7 actor and bodybuilder who gave Darth Vader his towering presence, has died at the age of 85 due to an ongoing illness.
Prowse provided the Dark Lord's physical on screen presence, while James Earl Jones provided the voice.
A post on StarWars.com, gave us more insight into Prowse's life:
Born in Bristol in 1935, Prowse began bodybuilding at a young age, and went on to win the British heavyweight weightlifting championship for three straight years from 1962-64. He would eventually transition into a career in film and TV, including roles in A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Tomorrow People (1973), and played Frankentstein’s monster in three Hammer horror films. He was particularly well known to UK audiences thanks to his portrayal of the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero who promoted road safety in a campaign that ran from 1971-1990 — a part that would see him awarded an MBE in 2000.
In addition, Prowse also worked behind the scenes, training Christopher Reeve for the title role in Superman (1978).
Creator George Lucas also wrote a moving tribute to Prowse.
“David brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character. He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence. David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace.”
Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the franchise said, “So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man, and much more than Darth Vader. Actor – Husband – Father. Member of the Order of the British Empire, 3x British Weightlifting Champion. He loved his fans as much as they loved him. #RIP."
So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man & 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. #RIP pic.twitter.com/VbDrGu6iBz— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 29, 2020
Vale David Prowse.