Entertainment Star Wars’ Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse, dies, age 85
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Star Wars’ Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse, dies, age 85

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Dave Prowse, the British actor and former bodybuilder who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died aged 85.

The weightlifter-turned-actor from Bristol, who also earned an MBE, died after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said in a Facebook post.

Prowse won the role playing Vader due to his impressive two-metre physique, but with his West Country accent deemed not quite suitable, the part was instead voiced by James Earl Jones.

“May the force be with him, always!” Mr Bowington said.

Dave Prowse at a New York Comic and Fantasy Creators Convention in May 1999. Photo: AP

“Though famous for playing many monsters – for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives.”

Mr Bowington called the actor’s death, after a short illness, “a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world”.

Prowse represented England in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games in the early 1960s before embarking on an acting career.

He was reportedly spotted by Star Wars director George Lucas when playing a bodyguard in the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, and invited to audition for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca.

He once told the BBC he chose Vader over his hairy co-star because “you always remember the bad guys”.