Remembered forever as the man inside the costume, Dave Prowse, who played Star Wars villain Darth Vader, has died aged 85.
It has been confirmed that Bristol born actor and former bodybuilder, Dave Prowse, has died following a short illness. He was 85 years old. Most famous for portraying Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, the actor maintained that he was most proud to have been the face of Britain’s road safety campaign in the ’70s and ’80s.
There are few cinematic villains more iconic than Darth Vader and it was Dave Prowse, who physically brought the character to life. Cast for his height and imposing demeanour, Prowse originally auditioned for two roles. Given the choice between playing Chewbacca or Darth Vader, Prowse chose the latter. His reasoning being that everyone remembers the bad guy.
As the man inside the costume, Prowse brought Vader to life, even delivering the Sith Lord’s dialogue during scenes. However, it was agreed that Prowse’s West Country accent wasn’t right for such a sinister character and, famously, James Earl Jones was brought in to voice-over Vader’s lines.
Prowse made many film and television appearances during a lengthy career. Alongside film roles he had recurring appearances in sci-fi series, ‘Space 1999’ and opposite ‘James Bond’ actor, Roger Moore, in ‘The Saint’. The actor even appeared once in ‘Doctor Who’.
Despite portraying such an iconic character, Prowse was most proud to have been chosen to head up Britain’s road safety campaign. Anyone growing up in the late ’70s or ’80s will remember Prowse as the Green Cross Code man, a super-hero-like character whose catchphrase, “Stop, Look and Listen”, encouraged children to observe simple rules of observation when crossing roads. He was awarded an MBE in 2000 in recognition of his road safety work.
Dave Prowse 1935 – 2020