David Prowse, the actor best known for playing the iconic villain Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died at the age of 85.
Prowse’s daughter, Rachel, confirmed that her father passed away on Saturday (November 28), according to TMZ.
Prowse’s agent Thomas Bowington also announced his death in a statement:
“It’s with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and millions of fans around the world, to announce that our client Dave Prowse MBE has passed away at the age of 85.”
Dave Prowse cause of death was COVID-19 complications
Rachel revealed that Prowse died from complications due to COVID-19 after he was hospitalized two weeks ago.
“It’s horrible that Covid restrictions meant we did not get to see him and say goodbye,” she said, according to The Sun. “But when we went to collect his stuff from the hospital the nurse said what a cool guy he was.”
“He was such a larger-than-life character. He would have loved to see himself trending on Twitter,” she added.
But he recovered after treatment.
Dave Prowse death: Tributes pour in on Twitter
People have been paying tribute following news of Prowse’s passing.
Actors who paid tribute on Twitter included his Star Wars co-stars Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, and Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO in multiple Star Wars movies.
So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. 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. #RIP pic.twitter.com/VbDrGu6iBz
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 29, 2020
A representative of the family of the late Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew paid tribute on Twitter.
— Peter Mayhew Foundation (@TheWookieeRoars) November 29, 2020
Fellow Doctor Who star John Barrowman also paid tribute.
#DaveProwse has passed away. #fanfamily We knew him best as #DarthVader Dave got me into shape/trained me for my Role in Matador. He was a genuine, kind, loving man, loved life, family, fitness and his fans. Dave was a huge part of our #confamily his smile will be missed. Jb pic.twitter.com/t91c5JCcTS
— John Barrowman MBE (@JohnBarrowman) November 29, 2020
The latest news comes after Andrew Jack, who played Major Caluan Ematt in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, died in March at the age of 76 due to COVID-19 complications.
David Prowse bio
Dave Browse was born in Bristol, England, in July 1935.
Before he found fame in the world of acting, Prowse was a weightlifter and bodybuilder who competed in Mr. Universe competitions alongside elite bodybuilders, such as Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He also served as a personal trainer for Christopher Reeve when he played Superman.
Prowse made his debut as a film actor when he appeared in Casino Royale (1967) as Frankenstein Monster.
George Lucas personally contacted Dave after seeing him play Julian in the 1971 film Clockwork Orange. Lucas offered him the choice between playing Darth Vader and Chewbacca.
Dave later said he chose to play Darth Vader because “Everyone remembers the villain.”
He appeared as Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.
Despite his superstar status, many who saw him play Darth Vader in Star Wars did not recognize him when they saw him in public because his character appeared in a shrouding costume and mask in the Star Wars movies.
Lucas cast Prowse as Darth Vader mainly because of his imposing 6-ft-6-inch physique. An American actor, James Earl Jones, voiced the character because of Prowse’s British accent.
Although he is best known for playing Darth Vader, Prowse played several other movie roles, including The Monster in The Horror of Frankenstein and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell
He also played roles in TV series such as The Beverly Hillbillies, The Saint, Doctor Who, and Space 1999.
Prowse was married to Norma Scammell and they shared three children.