Original Darth Vader Actor Passes Away at Age 85

in Star Wars

darth vader

Credit: NY Times

The man who famously played the iconic Darth Vader portrayed in the original Star Wars trilogy in 1977, 1980 and 1983, has passed away at the age of 85.

David Prowse, known for the “bodybuilder’ portrayal of the Star Wars villain, Darth Vader, in all three of the original Star Wars films, while James Earl Jones supplied the unforgettable voice, passed away in the early hours of November 29. The news comes as a shock to Star Wars fans everywhere.

Related: ‘Star Wars’ Original Trilogy Actress Passes Away

darth vader
Credit: LucasFilm

Prowse’s management company announced Sunday morning that the Star Wars actor had passed away after a short illness. His agent, Thomas Bowington, released this statement on Twitter.

“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.”

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Prowse’s agent also shared some kind words about the late actor with BBC, saying, “May the force be with him, always! Though famous for playing many monsters – for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives.”

He also went on to call the tragedy, “a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world”.

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Other Star Wars actors took to Twitter to share their condolences as well, including Mark Hamill, who is known for playing Luke Skywalker alongside Prowse on-screen. He writes:

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

Anthony Daniels, known for playing C-3PO in the Star Wars films, also took to Twitter after hearing about the shocking news. He writes:

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.

According to IMDB, Prowse had a passion for bodybuilding and even took home the title of British Weightlifting Champion several different times throughout the 1960s. He was lifelong friends with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in his bodybuilding years.

Other roles Prowse took on prior to playing the original Darth Vader include the monster in The Horror of Frankenstein and a bearded torturer in Carry on Henry. Prowse also made an appearance as a bodyguard in A Clockwork Orange before playing the iconic Darth Vader in all three of the original Star Wars films, in 1977, 1980 and 1983.

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darth vader
Credit: LucasFilm

In case you aren’t familiar, the official description for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, which was where Prowse’s first appearance of Darth Vader occured, reads:

The Imperial Forces — under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) — hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), captain of the Millennium Falcon, work together with the companionable droid duo R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) to rescue the beautiful princess, help the Rebel Alliance, and restore freedom and justice to the Galaxy.

Our thoughts and prayers go out the The Prowse Family. May the force be with you, always. 

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