David Prowse, the actor best known for playing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died at the age of 85, his agent, Thomas Bowington, has said.
“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,” Bowington said.
Jason Joiner, an events producer who worked with Prowse, announced the death on a Facebook page dedicated to the actor, adding: “Dave was dedicated to meeting the fans for decades, and lots of fans’ first ever guest they met was Dave in the early days of Comic Cons and collators’ events. Dave was larger than life and he will be so very much missed. Our love and thoughts go out to his family.”
Prowse was a former bodybuilder who had a series of roles as monsters and villains before being invited by George Lucas to audition for the roles of Vader and Chewbacca.
He chose Vader and when asked why, replied: “Everyone remembers the villain.”
Born in Bristol in 1935, Prowse developed a passion for bodybuilding and weight training in his early teens and competed in Mr Universe competitions, where he became friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. He also shredded telephone books under the stage-name Jack the Ripper.
He won the British heavyweight weightlifting championship three times and was selected to represent England at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia.
Prowse’s first film was 1967’s Casino Royale, in which he played Frankenstein’s Monster. Although the casting was based on Prowse’s stature, he developed a strong interest in acting and decided to pursue it further.
His CV included A Clockwork Orange and he was the personal trainer who prepared Christopher Reeve for the role of Superman in 1978.
Prowse was in the Vader suit for much of the Sith Lord’s screen time and reputedly even got to speak his lines on set, although his west country tones were dubbed over with those of US actor James Earl Jones in post-production, and many of the fight scenes featured British Olympic fencer Bob Anderson.
To add insult to injury, when Vader’s face was finally shown to audiences as he lay dying in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, producer George Lucas chose to cast the British stage actor Sebastian Shaw instead.
Prowse and Lucas later fell out, leading to Prowse being banned from official Star Wars activities in 2010.
Despite the fame he won as Vader, Prowse said he was most proud of his role as the Green Cross Man in a long-running British road safety campaign, for which he was awarded Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2000.
In a column for the Guardian in 2014, Prowse wrote: “Many people will know me for being the ultimate screen villain, Star Wars’ Darth Vader, but being a ‘goodie goodie’ and heading up the Green Cross Code campaign, helping to save thousands of lives has always been the ultimate honour.”
Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, wrote on Twitter that Prowse was “a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.”
Hamill said the actor “loved his fans as much as they loved him. #RIP.”
Prowse is survived by his wife, Norma, and their three children.
Additional reporting by AP
MEDIGEN: The vaccine must also be reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices before it is added to the national vaccination program An emergency use authorization (EUA) for Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s (高端疫苗) COVID-19 vaccine — MVC-COV1901 — for people aged 20 and older was issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said a specialists’ meeting was held at the FDA on Sunday to review Medigen’s application to manufacture and distribute its COVID-19 vaccine, and the panel approved it. FDA Director Wu Hsiu-mei (吳秀梅) said the meeting consisted of 21 specialists from the fields of chemistry, manufacturing and controls, pharmacy, toxicology, clinical medicine, public health, law and medical ethics. There were no major concerns over
LAND ALERT UNCERTAIN: The CWB was waiting to observe how In-Fa shifts as it moves north to determine when to issue a land alert, a forecaster at the bureau said Residents of northern Taiwan should brace for heavy rain today and tomorrow as Typhoon In-Fa approaches the northeast, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday. A land alert for the typhoon would be issued depending on the angle at which it moves north today, the bureau said. The bureau on Wednesday issued a sea alert for the typhoon, which applies to ships operating off the nation’s northern, northeastern and southeastern coasts. As of 8:30pm yesterday, In-Fa’s center was 470km southeast of Taipei, moving northwest at 6kph. It was carrying maximum sustained winds of 180kph, and had a radius of 200km. The typhoon was moving
‘BREAKTHROUGH’: All countries should be free to pursue closer ties with Taiwan, a leading democracy, a major economy, and a force for good in the world, the AIT said Taiwan is to establish a “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania,” the first office in Europe to be called Taiwanese, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday. “It is an important diplomatic breakthrough,” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wrote on Facebook, thanking diplomatic personnel for the significant achievement. To expand the nation’s relations with central and eastern Europe, especially with Baltic nations, the government decided to establish the office in Vilnius, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told an online news conference. The plan signals progress in Taiwan-Europe relations, as it has been 18 years since the nation last opened an office on the
TARGET RAISED: The CECC said vaccination coverage has reached 24.35%, while Premier Su Tseng-chang said the government hopes for 30% by the end of July The government has signed a contract to buy an additional 36 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, 1 million of which are to be delivered in the fourth quarter, the Executive Yuan announced yesterday, as it updated its vaccination target to 30 percent coverage by the end of the month. The two-year deal with the US company covers “prime series” vaccines and future booster shots to protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) quoted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying during an Executive Yuan meeting in Taipei. In the two weeks since vaccine registration opened, more than 9.8