British actor David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, has died at age 85. The actor’s management team confirmed on Twitter Sunday, “It’s with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and million of fans around the world, to announce that our client DAVE PROWSE M.B.E. has passed away at the age of 85.”
Prowse was best known for his role as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars film trilogy that included “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return of the Jedi.” Although the role was voiced by James Earl Jones, Prowse was cast for his imposing 6’6 frame and physically portrayed the iconic Vader.
In a post on StarWars.com, creator George Lucas wrote a touching tribute to to the late actor. “David brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character,” Lucas said. “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 shared many scenes with Prowse as Luke Skywalker, took to Twitter to remember Prowse. “So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader,” Hamill wrote. “Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire – 3 time British Weightlifting Champion and Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him.”
Many other actors who were involved in the Star Wars franchise also took to twitter to voice their condolences.