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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 film called Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, produced by the English Horror Film Company, Hammer Studios. Prowse played the role of the Frankenstein Monster. In the same film, 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.

Biography[]

David Prowse was selected to play Darth Vader in the 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 fanfilm 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]

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