Darth Vader Actor David Prowse Remembered by Mark Hamill, Edgar Wright and More: ‘Unbelievably Magical’

The bodybuilder-turned-actor’s death at age 85 was announced on Sunday

Last Updated: November 29, 2020 @ 9:20 AM

Tributes poured in on Sunday for David Prowse, the British bodybuilder-turned-actor best known for embodying Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” film trilogy. Prowse died at age 85, following a battle with prostate cancer.

Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the franchise, paid tribute to the actor early Sunday. “So sad to hear David Prowse has passed,” Hamill tweeted. “He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader. Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him.”

British writer-director Edgar Wright singled out Prowse’s role as the superheroic Green Cross Man in a TV ad campaign to promote pedestrian road safety in the 1970s and ’80s. “As a kid Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader & stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man,” he tweeted. “Rest in Peace, Bristol’s finest.”

While James Earl Jones won fame for voicing Darth Vader, Prowse’s performance behind the suit and the mask was often overlooked. But not by some fans.

“David Prowse as Darth Vader was BRILLIANT. He was so unbelievably magical in that suit,” actor Joe Manganiello wrote. “I’ve watched Empire so many times with the sound off just to watch how he moved. His physical choices were as iconic as James’ voice to me & aside from all of that he was such a nice man.”

Daniel Logan, who played young Boba Fett in “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” also offered his condolences. “Darth Vader wouldn’t be the same without you in the costume,” he tweeted. “We had many fun times & laughs at cons together over the years. Glad to have been able to call you a friend. Rest now and be one with the Force!”

The 6-foot-6-inch Prowse first rose to fame as a bodybuilder who competed for Great Britain in the Commonwealth Games in the early 1960s.

He landed his first film role, as Frankenstein’s monster, in the 1967 James Bond spoof “Casino Royale.” He played the character again in two early 1970s Hammer films, “Horror of Frankenstein” and “Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell.” After playing a bodyguard in 1971’s “A Clockwork Orange,” George Lucas cast him as the villainous Darth Vader in the original 1977 sci-fi “Star Wars” film — a role he reprised in both 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back” and 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.”

See more tributes below.