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May the Force be with you, always

Darth Vader actor David Prowse passes away at 85

By Dandi Galvez Published Nov 29, 2020 3:40 am Updated Dec 01, 2020 10:32 pm

The man behind one of cinema's most iconic silver screen villains, Darth Vader, has passed away.

David Prowse has passed away at the age of 85, his management company confirmed in a tweet sent out today.

"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," the post read.

Prowse donned the Darth Vader costume for 1977's Star Wars, a role he would reprise in the films sequels Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back,  and Star Wars – Return of the Jedi. However, his vocals for the film trilogy was famously replaced by the equally iconic voice of James Earl Jones.

Prowse's passing was reportedly after a "short illness" according to his agent.

Various celebs have takken to Twitter to express their deepest condolences. Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill, who portrayed Darth Vader's son, Luke Skywalker, said, "He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader... He loved his fans as much as they loved him.

Star Wars Epsiode II actor Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett in the prequel film offered up his condolences, "Sad to hear of the passing of a #StarWars family member... Glad to have been able to call you a friend. Rest now and be one with the Force!

Rosario Dawson, who played the live-action version of fan-favorite AhsokaTano in the most recent episode of The Mandalorian, posted a tweet saying, "Rest In Power David Prowse. The force is with you and your loved ones. Always has been. Always will be. #TimeToShineInTheLight."

Deathstroke actor James Manganiello posted, "David Prowse as Darth Vader was BRILLIANT. He was so unbelievably magical in that suit. I’ve watched Empire so many times with the sound off just to watch how he moved."

Carl Weathers, who recently directed an episode on the second season of The Mandalorian, offered up his tribute, acknowledging the physicality that Prowse gave to the role, "That stature contributed so much to Darth Vader’s legend."

Tributes from Star Wars fans continue to pour in. Fan group The 501st legion says, "David embodied cinema's greatest villain. It is with great sadness the 501st Legion hears he has become one with the Force."

Prowse has had a career in film which started with the James Bond spoof Casino Royale, where he played the Frankenstein creature. It was a role he would reprise in later films' The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974). 

It was his role as a bodyguard in 1971's A Clockwork Orange which caught the eye of Star Wars creator George Lucas. The director invited Prowse to audition for the roles of Chewbacca and Darth Vader. He would later choose to portray the Sith Lord because, in his opinion, "You always remember the bad guys.''