The actor who breathed life into the iconic role of Darth Vader, David Prowse, died Sunday at the age of 85, his management group confirmed.
Though Vader was ultimately voiced by James Earl Jones, it was Prowse who originally played the galactic supervillain on the big screen.
The British actor, bodybuilder and pedestrian safety advocate, inspired millions around the world. His management group, Bovington Management, confirmed his death Sunday with the following statement:
“Prowse with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and millions of fans around the world, to announce that our client DAVE PROWSE M.B.E. has passed away at the age of 85.”
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. #DaveProwse @starwars #DarthVader #GreenCrossCodeMan #iconic #actor #bodybuilder #MBE pic.twitter.com/dL2RmdIqg8— Bowington Management (@BowingtonM) November 29, 2020
Prowse earned the MBE title, short for Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 2000 after starring in the U.K.’s Green Code Man public service advertisements to help children cross the road safely.
According to a report by CNN, Prowse was being treated for prostate cancer at the time of his death.
Below are a few reactions from his castmates and the series’ fanbase:
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
More sad news. Dave has gone. I don’t think 3PO ever faced Vader’s mighty presence on set, other than as a bag of bits on Chewie’s shoulders in the carbon freezer. But Dave’s iconic figure dominated the finished film in '77 and has done so ever since. And will continue to do so.— Anthony Daniels (@ADaniels3PO) November 29, 2020
“I’d worked in A Clockwork Orange with Stanley Kubrick and, since Stanley was such a prestigious director, this opened up all sorts of doors for me.” David Prowse, 1 July, 1935 - 28 November, 2020. pic.twitter.com/QdI2gxUJjY— Stanley Kubrick (@StanleyKubrick) November 29, 2020
Very sad to hear that David Prowse has passed. His undeniable talent helped bring one of cinema’s most iconic character to life. Today our thoughts go out to his family & friends. https://t.co/qaS7PZVN4p #StarWars pic.twitter.com/VDC8XbHDrs— ILMVFX (@ILMVFX) November 29, 2020
As a kid Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader & stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man. Rest in Peace, Bristol’s finest. https://t.co/VYdxM37JWb— edgarwright (@edgarwright) November 29, 2020