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David Prowse (July 1, 1935 - November 28, 2020) was a British bodybuilder and weightlifter who became an actor. He played Darth Vader in the original trilogy.

Early in his career Prowse was in a pair of films called The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974), produced by the English horror-film company Hammer Studios. Prowse played the Frankenstein Monster (which Prowse had already played in the standalone James Bond spoof Casino Royale in 1967). In the same films, Peter Cushing, who would later play Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, plays Dr. Frankenstein.

Prowse is also known to sci-fi fans for playing a Minotaur in the Doctor Who story "The Time Monster" (1972) under the name Dave Prowse. He also appeared in the TV series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1980) as the bodyguard of Hotblack Desiato, also under the name Dave Prowse.


David Prowse was selected to play Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope due to his height and girth. He would speak the lines from within the suit during filming in his Bristol accent. However, as this ultimately clashed with George Lucas's idea about Vader, James Earl Jones was dubbed over as Vader's voice — a fact unknown to Prowse at the time of filming.[3][4] Prowse reprised his role as Vader for the games Star Wars: The Interactive Video Board Game and Star Wars Monopoly.[source?]

Prowse complains that he never got any publicity as Darth Vader. He had chosen to play Vader because he felt the villain was usually the most memorable.[4] Prowse used to attend fan conventions and sign his autographs "David Prowse IS Darth Vader." However, Prowse was banned from official Star Wars conventions, such as Star Wars Weekends in Orlando, by George Lucas, supposedly because of Prowse "annoying" him.[5][3]

In 2005, Prowse joined Jeremy Bulloch, Michael Sheard and Orli Shoshan in the final two parts of UK fan-film trilogy Order of the Sith. Prowse played a rebel officer in charge of the main character, Fuser Marucs. The films were made in aid of the Save the Children foundation.[source?]

Prowse died of COVID-19[6] on November 28, 2020, at 85 years of age.[2][3] Several celebrities including Lucas, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, the Peter Mayhew Foundation, William Shatner, Rosario Dawson, and Elijah Wood paid tribute to Prowse.[4][7][8]


Notes and references[]

  1. SWYTlogo.png San Diego Comic-Con Exclusives, Brand New LEGO Art, and More! on the official Star Wars YouTube channel (backup link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Barnes, Mike: David Prowse, Man Behind the Darth Vader Mask, Dies at 85 (2020-11-28). The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 29, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ryan, Gilbey: David Prowse obituary (2010-11-29). theguardian.com. The Guardian. Archived from the original on November 29, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Dave Prowse: Darth Vader actor dies aged 85 (2010-11-29). bbc.com. BBC News. Archived from the original on November 30, 2020.
  5. Welch, Michelle: David Prowse banned from all Lucasfilm-related Star Wars events (2010-07-19). news.avclub.com. The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on May 28, 2019.
  6. Evans, Greg: 'Star Wars' Actor David Prowse Died From Covid-19, Daughter Says – Report (2020-11-30). Deadline. Archived from the original on November 30, 2020.
  7. Shafer, Ellise: George Lucas, Mark Hamill and More Pay Tribute to David Prowse: 'He Made Vader Leap Off the Page' (2010-11-29). variety.com. Variety. Archived from the original on November 30, 2020.
  8. Angela: David Prowse, the original Darth Vader, dies aged 85 (2010-11-29). edition.cnn.com. CNN. Archived from the original on November 29, 2020.

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