David Prowse, 1935-2020

David Prowse, the man who played Darth Vader in the original trilogy, has passed away.

David Prowse, the actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films, has died, the Associated Press reported. He was 85.

George Lucas asked Prowse to audition for Star Wars after seeing the 6-foot-6 actor in the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange. Prowse had his choice of playing Chewbacca or Vader, and opted for the latter because, as he told the BBC, “you always remember the bad guy.”

Prowse played Luke Skywalker’s erstwhile father in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, but famously, his voice didn’t make it into the films. He said all Vader’s lines, but the voice of James Earl Jones was later dubbed in.

Before he became an actor, Prowse was a UK champion bodybuilder in the 1960s.

Everyone knows about James Earl Jones’ impressive Vader voice, but real nerds like me knew Prowse was doing all the heavy lifting. Prowse rarely received any credit for his portrayal of Darth Vader, which may have bothered him, but he was simply happy to play the role. Let’s hope he knew every kid from my generation knew Darth Vader was the baddest badass in all of cinema.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Prowse. Thank you for the memories.

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