David Prowse, known for playing Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies, passed away Sunday at the age of 85.
Prowse suffered from Alzheimer’s and had been in the hospital for two weeks where, according to his daughter, the 6′ 6″ actor passed away due to complications from the coronavirus.
“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,” Rachel Prowse told the UK’s The Sun. “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.”
Star Wars creator George Lucas said in a statement posted on StarWars.com: “David brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character. He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence. David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace.”
Mark Hamill who played Luke Skywalker opposite David Prowse’s Darth Vader said on Twitter: “So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He loved his fans as much as they loved him.”
David Prowse was born in Bristol, England in 1935, where at a young age he started bodybuilding and went on to win the British heavyweight weightlifting championship for three straight years from 1962-64.
In addition to Star Wars, Prowse is also known for roles in A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Tomorrow People (1973), and he played Frankentstein’s monster in three Hammer horror films.
Prowse is also known for having worked behind the scenes of the Richard Donner 1988 Superman movie training Christopher Reeve for the title role.
Death of David Prowse reactions:
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