Reuters reports: David Prowse, the English actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films, has died aged 85, his management company said on Sunday… The champion weightlifter-turned-actor starred as the body, but not the voice, of one of cinema’s best-known villains. Director George Lucas opted to dub another voice onto Prowse’s portrayal of the towering, masked antagonist Darth Vader in “Star Wars”, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”. More from the Los Angeles Times:
Born in Bristol, southwest England, in 1935, Prowse represented England in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games in the 1950s before breaking into movies with roles that emphasized his commanding size, including Frankenstein’s monster in a pair of horror films [and also in the 1967 comedy Casino Royale]. Director George Lucas saw Prowse in a small part in “A Clockwork Orange” and asked the 6-foot-6-inch actor to audition for the villainous Vader or the Wookiee Chewbacca in “Star Wars.” Prowse later told the BBC he chose Darth Vader because “you always remember the bad guys.” Physically, Prowse was perfect for the part. His lilting English West Country accent was considered less ideal, and his lines were dubbed by actor James Earl Jones. Prowse was also known to a generation of British children as the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero in a series of road safety advertisements. An anonymous reader writes:
In 2011 he authored an autobiography titled Straight from the Force’s Mouth (with a foreword by bodybuilder/Incredible Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno), and his differences with Lucasfilm are chronicled in a 2015 documentary about his career titled I Am Your Father. (You can watch its trailer on its page on Amazon Prime, though the full documentary is currently listed as “unavailable.”) Wikipedia lists some of Prose’s other roles, including: A Minotaur in the Doctor Who serial The Time Monster The Black Knight in the Terry Gilliam film JabberwockyA small role as Hotblack Desiato’s bodyguard in the 1981 BBC TV adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
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