Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse dies at age 85
Star Wars star Dave Prowse has died at the age of 85, according to the BBC. The British actor played Darth Vader in the original trilogy of the science fiction franchise, 1977's Star Wars, 1980's The Empire Strikes Back, and 1983's Return of the Jedi. According to Prowse's agent, the actor passed away after a short illness.
A former weightlifter who grew up in the city of Bristol, Prowse scored early roles in 1970's Horror of Frankenstein and Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film A Clockwork Orange. Six years later, he became a sci-fi icon portraying Vader in Star Wars, even though the character's dialog in the first three films of the franchise would be spoken by James Earl Jones, director George Lucas having deemed Prowse's Bristol accent unsuitable for his space saga.
Prowse's other credits included the TV shows Doctor Who and Space 1999. The actor was also famous in the UK for playing the Green Cross Code Man in a series of PSAs which promoted road safety.
Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright, who grew up near Prowse's hometown of Bristol, has paid tribute to the late star on Twitter.
"As a kid Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader & stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man," wrote the filmmaker. "Rest in Peace, Bristol’s finest."