News: David Prowse MBE has died, aged 85
The man behind the body of immortal Star Wars villain Darth Vader, David Prowse, has passed away aged 85 after a short illness. David died peacefully at his home in London, outlived by his wife of over 4 decades, Norma E. Scammell, and three children.
David is known to millions of film fans around the world as the man behind the suit of Darth Vader, one of three actors working together to bring the classic cinema villain to life. Safe to say while we never saw his face or heard his unique Bristol accent, his 6ft 6 height and muscular build made Vader a towering figure of mystery, evil and dominance, the likes of which speak volumes even without sound or music.
Starting his career as a bodybuilder, and even going on to coach movie stars such as Cary Elwes and Christopher Reeve for their screen roles. He opened a number of gyms, travelled under a stage name of 'Jack The Ripper' due to him being able to rip phone books in half! He was a real gentle giant.
Away from the gyms and bodybuilding circuit, David became famous when he embodied the role of the 'Green Cross Code' man on British TV screens.
As the Green Cross Code man, David became the face and voice of safety for thousands of children in a scheme that ran from 1971 to 1990. It was due to this he received an MBE in 2000 for his dedication to charity and child safety. His imposing physique and frame paved the way for many roles in sci-fi and fantasy as mystical beasts, creatures or soldiers. A selection of his roles include Frankenstien's monster in the 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale, a Minotaur in Doctor Who and Black Knight in Brit comedy Jabberwocky.
But it was his starring role in the space opera Star Wars that cemented his name in the industry and to millions of film fans around the world.
Featuring as Darth Vader in all three original movies from 1977 to 1983, David continued to champion the successful franchise on the convention circuit well into the late 2000s.
His passion for the franchise, including the talent on and off camera and the stories of the production whilst inside the iconic suit have captivated fans for decades, and David was always on hand to sign autographs and pose for photographs.
It was only in 2016 at the age of 81 that David finally stepped back from the convention circuit for a quieter life to focus on his health and family.
A man of few words on screen, but of an imposing and unmistakable physique that has helped create some timeless characters on screen for generations to enjoy.
May the Force be with you, Lord Vader.