More sad news arrives – actor David Prowse has passed away at 85 after recently being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
David played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy (although the character’s voice was of course done by James Earl Jones – David himself had a broad Somerset accent which anyone outside of the UK struggled to follow).
David’s daughter Rachel, commented, ‘He might have looked quite scary but as a person he was a sweet, kind and generous man. He really was a gentle giant. And to us he was our dad. It’s horrible that Covid restrictions meant we did not get to see him and say goodbye. 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.’
He also appeared as the first Green Cross Code Man, a superhero character used in road safety ads by the UK government, and David played Frank Alexander’s bodyguard, Julian, in the chilling dark SF movie a Clockwork Orange, as well as Frankenstein’s monster in three of the films. TV appearances included Benny Hill, Callan, Doctor Who, Space 1999, and The Saint.
Prowse was brought up on the Southmead housing estate in Bristol and he went on to win the British heavyweight weightlifting championship in 1962, 1963, and 1964. He felt he was treated rather badly by LucasFilm, claiming he was chiseled out of his royalties promised in his contract by Hollywood accounting, and when he called them on this, was banned from ever attending any officially sanctioned Star Wars event again.
There have been lots of Twitter tributes to the man.
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
More sad news. Dave has gone. I don’t think 3PO ever faced Vader’s mighty presence on set, other than as a bag of bits on Chewie’s shoulders in the carbon freezer. But Dave’s iconic figure dominated the finished film in ’77 and has done so ever since. And will continue to do so.
— Anthony Daniels (@ADaniels3PO) November 29, 2020
— Peter Mayhew Foundation (@TheWookieeRoars) November 29, 2020