Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I have some very sad news to report.
David Prowse, an English actor who used his towering height and broad shoulders to portray the bionic body of the evil Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, died November 28 at a hospital in London. He was 85 years old.
His agent, Thomas Bowington, confirmed his death but did not provide an immediate cause. Prowse had announced in 2014 that he had dementia, following an earlier bout of prostate cancer.
The phenomenal and huge success of the Star Wars series after its launch in 1977 made the Dark Lord of the Sith, as Mr. Prowse’s character was also known, one of cinema’s most instantly recognizable villains even though Prowse was largely unknown to moviegoers because of his full body costume.
At 6 ft 7 and weighing 275 pounds, he used his imposing physique to give shape and form to Darth Vader’s threatening presence on screen as the embodiment of the Evil Empire. His costume featured a menacing grilled mask, a glistening black helmet modeled after samurai headgear, a leather jumpsuit, black gloves, knee high boots, a sweeping cape and a flashing electronic chest panel on a fiberglass breastplate.
Star Wars creator George Lucas viewed Darth Vader as the product of a collaboration by a team of artists which includes American Actor James Earl Jones, British fencing coach Bob Anderson, who played Darth Vader in many lightsaber duels, and veteran stage actor Sebastian Shaw, who in “Return of the Jedi” (1983) the final installment in the original trilogy provided the face of a dying Darth Vader.
Prowse met Lucas at Twentieth Century Fox’s offices in London in the summer of 1976. He was 40 and had appeared on screen in minor roles as brutes and monsters. His most noted performance was a brief turn as a bodyguard in Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” (1971).
Lucas offered Prowse a choice between two roles for his upcoming movie, “Star Wars,” which was being shot partly at a soundstage north of London. The first option was the furry Chewbacca character, but the thought of spending London’s hot summer sweating in a hairy costume led Mr. Prowse to select option two: Darth Vader.
He married Norma Scammell. In addition to his wife, survivors include three children, a brother and grandchildren.