From the very first time Darth Vader walked onto movie screens in 1977, fans were roped in. Former bodybuilder and strongman competitor David Prowse was the man inside the Darth Vader costume while the character was voiced by James Earl Jones. Yesterday, David Prowse died at age 85. He joins Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) Kenny Baker (R2-D2) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) as original cast members who have passed away.
Yesterday, Star Wars actors took time to remember David Prowse with nothing but love, adoration and respect for many described as a gentile giant.
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
Sad to hear of the passing of a #StarWars family member. RIP Dave Prowse. Darth Vader wouldn't be the same without you in the costume. 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! pic.twitter.com/st28CQGckF
— Daniel Logan (@Daniel_Logan) November 29, 2020
For those of us blessed to be raised with Star Wars as our childhood backdrop, it is a sad time. Another actor is a film franchise that is so endearing has passed away.
As a young kid in 1977, I did not know weather I should cheer, scream in horror or run for the exit when Darth Vader walked on screen. I ended up riding it out, although my initial thought and impulse was to run for the hills screaming the whole way.
At 6′ 6″ and built like a sheet of muscle David Prowse, was perhaps the perfect choice to bring the iconic Darth Vader to life. As imposing a figure as Prowse was he was equally as gentile according to those who knew him best.
It is never fun when a person dies. But those of us who grew up seeing the original Star Wars films in their first theater run’s was pure magic. We grew to know the actors and actresses names and talked about them like they were close friends or family members.
For Star Wars cast members I am sure it is a sad time and time to reflect on a person who they knew better than any fan could. For Mr. Prowse family I’m sure it is an even sadder time.
For us fans, it is sad as well. But we are grateful to get a glimpse of the skills David Prowse brought to Star Wars.