english bodybuilder, weightlifter, and actor
For early people named David Prowse, see David Prowse ( disambiguation )
David Charles Prowse ( 1 July 1935 – 28 November 2020 ) was an english bodybuilder, [ 1 ] weightlifter and character actor in British film and television receiver. He portrayed Darth Vader ( voiced by american english actor James Earl Jones ) in the original Star Wars trilogy and a manservant in Stanley Kubrick ‘s 1971 film A Clockwork Orange. In 2015, he starred in two documentaries concerning his Darth Vader character, one entitled The Force’s Mouth which included Prowse voicing Darth Vader ‘s lines with studio apartment effects applied for the first meter, and the other entitled I Am Your Father covering the subject of side effect between Prowse and Lucasfilm.

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prior to his character as Vader, Prowse had established himself as a visualize in the United Kingdom as the Green Cross Man in the Green Cross Code road safety public information aimed at children. [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ]

early life

Prowse was born in Bristol, the son of Gladys ( née Burt ) and Charles Prowse. [ 5 ] He was brought up on the Southmead housing estate in Bristol, gaining a eruditeness to Bristol Grammar School. [ 6 ] Prowse was tall, standing 6 foot 6 in ( 1.98 thousand ), and developed an pastime in bodybuilding. His early jobs included a bouncer at a dance hall, where he met his future wife, and a benefactor at Henleaze Swimming Pool. Following his successes from 1961 in the british colossus weightlifting championship, he left Bristol in 1963 to work for a London weight-lift company. [ 7 ]


Weightlifting and train

Prowse won the british colossus weightlifting championship in 1962 and the pursue two years. [ 7 ] He represented England in the weightlift event at the 1962 british Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth, Western Australia. [ 8 ] Prowse helped to train Christopher Reeve for the lead role in Superman ( 1978 ) after lobbying for the separate himself. [ 9 ] [ 10 ] In a television receiver interview, he related how his reply to being told “ we ‘ve found our Superman ” was “ Thank you very much. ” lone then was he told that Reeve had been chosen for the character and he was to only be a flight simulator. [ 11 ] He trained Cary Elwes for his role as Westley in The Princess Bride ( 1987 ). [ 12 ] Prowse besides became fitness adviser to Harrods, [ 9 ] ripped up earphone books under the stage name ‘Jack the Ripper ‘, and opened a series of gyms, including The Dave Prowse Fitness Centre in Southwark, London. [ 13 ]


His first appearance is a brief cameo in a gymnasium as a weightlifter in the 1968 television receiver testify The Champions : the open sequence of episode 2 “ The inconspicuous world ”. [ 14 ] In the United Kingdom, Prowse was well known as the Green Cross Man, a superhero invented to promote a road safety campaign for children in 1975. As a solution of his association with the campaign, which ran between 1971 and 1990, he received the MBE in 2000. [ 15 ] He had a role as Frank Alexander ‘s manservant, Julian, in the movie A Clockwork Orange ( 1971 ), in which he was noticed by the future Star Wars director George Lucas. [ 7 ] He played a circus strongman in Vampire Circus ( 1972 ), a Minotaur in the Doctor Who serial The Time Monster ( besides 1972 ), and an android named Coppin in The Tomorrow People in 1973. He appeared in an sequence of Space: 1999, “ The Beta Cloud “ ( 1976 ), proper before he was cast as Darth Vader. Around that time, he appeared as the Black Knight in the Terry Gilliam film Jabberwocky ( 1977 ) and was supposed to play Minoton in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger ( 1977 ), but the depart went to Peter Mayhew rather, who belated played Chewbacca in Star Wars. [ 16 ] Prowse claimed that he closely got the function of Jaws in James Bond ( which ultimately went to Richard Kiel ) and was offered the share of Conan the Barbarian before Arnold Schwarzenegger. [ 17 ] Prowse had a little function as Hotblack Desiato ‘s bodyguard in the 1981 BBC TV adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He appeared in the first series of Ace of Wands on LWT and as a bodyguard in Callan ( 1974 ), a feature movie version of the television serial. He played Charles, the duke ‘s wrestler, in the BBC Television Shakespeare production of As You Like It in 1978. [ 18 ]
Prowse in 2007 Prowse played Frankenstein ‘s monster in three films, Casino Royale and the Hammer horrors The Horror of Frankenstein and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell. [ 9 ] [ 19 ] [ 20 ] Prowse made two uncredited appearances on The Benny Hill Show. On Hill ‘s first show for Thames Television in 1969, he played a briefs-clad bodybuilder in the “ Ye Olde Wishing Well ” band aid, [ 21 ] and in 1984 “ Scuttlevision ” he showed off his muscles in a cartoon plant to the sung “ Stupid Cupid “. [ 22 ] The earlier act was besides featured in the 1974 film The Best of Benny Hill, in which he was credited. [ 23 ] Among his many non-speaking roles, Prowse played a major character in “ Portrait of Brenda ”, the penultimate episode of The Saint air in 1969. [ 24 ] In May 2010, he played Frank Bryan in The Kindness of Strangers, an independent british film produced by Queen Bee Films. The film screened at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. [ 25 ]

Star Wars

Prowse played the physical phase of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. [ 26 ] Prowse spoke the dialogue during film, but George Lucas wanted a “ dark part ” than Prowse ‘s relatively gay West Country accent, and had James Earl Jones provide a more black, malefic spokesperson for the fictional character. Prowse stated he was primitively told he would be seen and heard at the conclusion of Return of the Jedi when Vader ‘s disguise was removed. alternatively, actor Sebastian Shaw was used. [ 27 ] Upon Prowse ‘s death, Lucas stated that :

David brought a animalism to Darth Vader that was essential for the quality. He made Vader leap off the page and on to the boastful sieve, with an inflict stature and bowel movement performance to match the intensity and undertide of Vader ’ s presence. David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic design. [ 28 ]

In the 2004 documentary Empire of Dreams, actress Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the original trilogy films, quipped that they nicknamed Prowse “ Darth Farmer ” ( a jibe regarding his west Country emphasis ). In the lightsaber competitiveness scenes between Vader and Luke Skywalker ( Mark Hamill ), Prowse, who was not a identical skilled fencer and kept breaking the staffs used as the lightsabers, was replaced by the fit ‘s fight choreographer, the stuntman and fencing bus Bob Anderson. Prowse felt sidelined by Anderson during the make of Return of the Jedi in detail, and said he was merely able to persuade conductor Richard Marquand that he should be the one to throw the Emperor down the shaft after Marquand had tried and failed for a workweek to film the scene successfully without him. [ 29 ] Prowse reprised his character of Darth Vader for the video games Star Wars: The Interactive Video Board Game ( 1996 ) and Monopoly Star Wars ( 1997 ). [ 30 ] From 2002 Prowse was an honorary extremity and honorary leader of the 501st Legion, a fan group dedicated to Star Wars costuming. [ 31 ] Prowse continued to associate himself with his role in the Star Wars films and was involved in the convention circuit. Despite this, he was not included in some reunions of the original cast, such as those for the Empire of Dreams documentary and the 2005 Vanity Fair cover. While being interviewed by Kevin Moore of The Moore Show Prime Time, he admitted his disfavor of the prequel trilogy and said the newfangled films were “ out of context ” in terms of special effects in comparison to the original trilogy. [ 32 ]

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In July 2007, Prowse joined many others from the Star Wars films for the inaugural always Star Wars Celebration event held outside the United States. It was run by Lucasfilm Ltd. and the Cards Inc. Group, at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London. [ 33 ] [ 34 ] The occasion was to mark the thirtieth anniversary of Star Wars. [ 35 ] Prowse played a cameo role in the Star Wars fan films “ Order of the Sith : vengeance ” and its sequel “ Downfall ” – Order of the Sith, aboard Jeremy Bulloch and Michael Sheard. These fan films were made in Britain in support of the charity Save the Children. [ 36 ] In 2008, he was one of the project members featured on Justin Lee Collins ‘s Bring Back…Star Wars. In the episode, Prowse commented that he had a challenge with Lucas after he allegedly leaked reports of Darth Vader ‘s death to the crusade. Prowse had previously suggested that Darth Vader could be Luke Skywalker ‘s beget in a manner of speaking he gave to University of California, Berkeley, in 1978. [ 37 ] however, this was shortly after the release of Star Wars and about two years before The Empire Strikes Back [ 38 ] was released, [ 39 ] [ 40 ] and the script had not even been written at the time. Gary Kurtz, the producer of The Empire Strikes Back, said in the 2015 documentary I Am Your Father that Prowse ‘s apparent plot spoiler was plainly “ a effective guess. ” [ 41 ] Prowse stated his contract for Return of the Jedi included a contribution of profits on the film, and although it grossed $ 475 million on a $ 32 million budget, Prowse explained in an interview in 2009 that he never received residuals for his operation. [ 42 ] Due to “ Hollywood account “, the actual profits are sent as “ distribution fees ” to the studio, leaving nothing to distribute to others. [ 43 ] In July 2010, Prowse was banned by Lucas from attending official Star Wars fan conventions. [ 44 ] [ 45 ] Lucas had given Prowse no rationality, other than stating that Prowse “ burnt besides many bridges ” between Lucasfilm and himself. [ 46 ] In 2011, Prowse wrote and released his autobiography Straight from the Force’s Mouth. [ 47 ] A 2015 spanish documentary by film maker Marcos Cabotá, entitled I Am Your Father, detailed Prowse ‘s then life and his veto by Lucasfilm, which the documentary suggested was unjustified. The leaks featured in the documentary originated from a technician work on the films. [ 48 ] [ 49 ]

partnership with Jayce Lewis

David Prowse and Jayce Lewis with Darth Vader helmet Prowse became friends with Welsh musician Jayce Lewis when the latter was a adolescent, after they met at a skill fiction convention. [ 50 ] At the convention, Lewis recalled learning that Prowse ‘s son, whom he belated met after a performance, was besides a drummer. [ 51 ] [ 52 ] On their shared musical interest, Prowse identified himself as “ a music fan for years, going from boastful band jazz, trad jazz, modern and progressive. ” [ 53 ] The two became business partners [ 54 ] with Prowse taking on a management and public relations role. He was besides featured in the music video for “ Shields ” on the album Orderart. [ 55 ] On 1 October 2015, Lewis created a mini-documentary entitled The Force’s Mouth, which gave Prowse the opportunity to hear himself voicing Darth Vader ‘s lines with studio apartment effects applied for the first gear time. [ 50 ] [ 56 ]

personal life sentence

Prowse was married from 1963 to Norma Scammell and was the founder of three children. [ 57 ] He was a patron of Bristol Rugby Club. He lived in Addiscombe, Croydon, in south London from 1963. [ 58 ] Prowse publicly declared his support for the United Kingdom Independence Party in the 2009 european Parliament election : “ I ‘ve looked right and left and right again and the alone party I can safely vote for is UKIP. ” [ 59 ]

Health problems

Prowse at Mountain-Con in 2007 Prowse suffered from arthritis for much of his life. This led to replacements of both hips, and to his ankle being fused, equally well as respective revisionary surgeries on his hip replacements. [ 60 ] His arthritic symptoms inaugural appeared when he was 13. Though they apparently disappeared after he took up competitive weightlift, they reappeared in 1990. [ 60 ] In 2000, Prowse ‘s left arm became paralyze, followed by his right. He was diagnosed with septic arthritis caused by an contagion which closely killed him. The amount of surgery he had was stated to have reduced his altitude from the 6 feet 6 inches ( 198 curium ) of his younger days. [ 9 ] Prowse worked with multiple arthritis organisations in Britain and was vice-president of the Physically Handicapped and Able-bodied Association. [ 61 ] In March 2009, Prowse revealed that he was suffering from prostate gland cancer. From early 2009, he undergo radiation therapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital in South London. [ 62 ] In 2009, he was said to be in remission. [ 63 ] In November 2014, the Daily Mirror reported that he had dementia. [ 64 ] Prowse denied this, but admitted that he had problems with his memory, which he put toss off to senesce. [ 65 ]


In October 2016, Prowse retired from all populace appearances and events, out of ill health and the wishes of his family. [ 66 ] [ 67 ] His final onscreen appearance [ 68 ] was filmed with the Welsh musician and his long-time supporter Jayce Lewis in a sci-fi music television titled Shields. [ 69 ] [ 70 ]


Prowse died at a hospital in London, England, on 28 November 2020, aged 85, after a short, unspecified illness. [ 71 ] [ 72 ] [ 73 ]

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Honours and awards

Prowse was appointed Member of the Order of the british Empire ( MBE ) for services to charity and to road guard in the 2000 New Year Honours. [ 74 ]