Dave Prowse, the actor who was the physical embodiment of Darth Vader has died aged 85.
Dave was brought up in Bristol and started off as a bodybuilder before finding his way into TV in shows such as ‘The Saint’ and ‘Space 1999’ before being cast in 1975 as a specially created superhero called ‘The Green Cross Code Man’ who taught children how to cross a road safely in a series of TV commercials as well as hundreds of visits to primary schools around the country, including mine.
Then he was cast in Star Wars as Darth Vader Lord of the Sith and mortal enemy of the Rebel Alliance. Dave played Vader in the original three films though he had the movies sword-fighting instructor stand in for him on a number of occasions.
Over the years his relationship with George Lucas and Lucasfilm became estranged as George blamed Dave for leaking spoilers to ‘The Empire Strikes Back’- a claim to which Dave always denied. Personally I don’t think he did it but that’s another story. Dave also felt that Lucas had lied to him about his role including the dubbing of the now iconic voice of James Earl Jones over Dave’s strong West Country accent as well as the fact that he was told that his face would be seen at the end of ‘Return of the Jedi’ but he was replaced with Sebastian Shaw.
Darth Vader and the original trilogy were very important to Dave and he continued to attend conventions both official and unofficial (that is until Lucas banned him from attending official events which is just petty) to meet fans and promote Darth Vader.
I met him once around 2007 and my nephew Charlie met him around 2015 dressed as Vader.
Dave was also very active on social media up to his retirement. He posted lots himself and was helped by his son. Dave did regular competitions and giveaways- in fact I won a copy of Star Wars Battlefront II from him!
Retirement beckoned and Dave stopped attending events around 2016. He had suffered with arthritis and other medical problems for years and they were now taking its toll.
Mr Prowse died on Saturday 28th November 2020. Rest In Peace Dave. May the Force Be With You….Always!