David Prowse, the British actor who donned the iconic Darth Vader suit in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died 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,” Bowington Management tweeted.
The weightlifter-turned-actor, who also earned an MBE for playing the Green Cross Code Man to promote road safety, died after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said in a Facebook post.
Prowse made his film debut in the 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale.
His role in the film landed him several other screen roles, including in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
Prowse also portrayed the Frankenstein monster in three films due to his 6ft 6in physique, before he was cast as Vader in Star Wars in 1977, which became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon.
Prior to landing the famous Star Wars role, he was a familiar face on UK television as the first Green Cross Code Man, a character used in road safety advertising aimed at children.
It was a superhero-like character in a campaign that ran for two decades, with Prowse later rewarded with an MBE in 2000.
Fellow Star Wars stars are among those who have paid tribute to Prowse.
Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, tweeted: “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.”
The Mandalorian actor Carl Weathers tweeted: “RIP David Prowse. That stature contributed so much to Darth Vader’s legend. #BePeace.”
Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett, the Mandalorian warrior and bounty hunter in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, also paid tribute to Prowse on social media, posting a picture of himself with the English actor.
He tweeted: “Sad to hear of the passing of a #StarWars family member. RIP Dave Prowse. Darth Vader wouldn’t be the same without you in the costume. We had many fun times & laughs at cons together over the years. Glad to have been able to call you a friend. Rest now and be one with the Force!”