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David Prowse, actor who portrayed Darth Vader, passes away at 85

The actor and award winning bodybuilder was best known for physically portraying Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy.

David Prowse, who physically portrayed Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, passed away yesterday at the age of 85. News of the British actor’s death was announced on Twitter by his agent, Thomas Bowington. No definitive cause has been revealed except that he’d recently been suffering from an undisclosed illness.

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While James Earl Jones’ voice makes him the actor most people associate with Vader in Original Trilogy, David Prowse brought an intimidating physical presence that played an undeniable role in the creating the character’s iconic status.

Prowse was also well known for his role as Julian in A Clockwork Orange and Green Cross Circle Man, a superhero featured in British PSA’s instructing children how to safely cross the street.

In addition to acting, Prowse was an award winning weightlifter, body builder, and personal trainer to the stars. He even got Christopher Reeve in shape for his role as Superman.

News of Prowse’s passing sent a ripple of sadness through the entertainment world, particularly the Star Wars franchise. Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels sent out heartfelt tributes to their fellow Original Trilogy cast member.

In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, George Lucas payed tribute to the man who brought one of his greatest characters to life:

“David brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character. He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence. David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure.

May he rest in peace.”

 


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