Sunday morning, fans came together on social media to mourn the loss of beloved Star Wars actor David Prowse — best known for playing the iconic villain Darth Vader in the original George Lucas trilogy. The news was confirmed by his agent Thomas Bowington to the BBC late Saturday night, calling the actor's death following a short illness a "truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world."
While initially cast as Vader for his towering physique thanks in part to a career stemming as a bodybuilder, despite being voiced by actor James Earl James in the three films between 1977 and 1983, his fans are also remembering Prowse as the Green Cross Code Man, a character that taught road safety to children in the United Kingdom. According to the BBC, the role earned him an MBE and was something he would go on to call, the "best job I ever had."
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. #DaveProwse @starwars #DarthVader #GreenCrossCodeMan #iconic #actor #bodybuilder #MBE pic.twitter.com/dL2RmdIqg8— Bowington Management (@BowingtonM) November 29, 2020
"May the force be with him, always!" Bowington said. "Though famous for playing many monsters — for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives." Following the news, Prowse's co-stars, including Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels took to Twitter to express their heartbreak over the tremendous loss. Scroll through to see how fans are responding.
The 'Star Wars' family...
So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader. Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him. #RIP pic.twitter.com/VbDrGu6iBz— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 29, 2020
Sad to hear of the passing of #DaveProwse ..The ultimate villian for a lot of #StarWars fans around the world.. I met him at a fan event & he was a gentleman with some great stories...!!☹️☹️.. It goes without saying and to paraphrase that famous line.."May The Force Be With Him". pic.twitter.com/tB1tsvR5jT— Colin Craig (@collycomic) November 29, 2020
More sad news. Dave has gone. I don’t think 3PO ever faced Vader’s mighty presence on set, other than as a bag of bits on Chewie’s shoulders in the carbon freezer. But Dave’s iconic figure dominated the finished film in '77 and has done so ever since. And will continue to do so.— Anthony Daniels (@ADaniels3PO) November 29, 2020
I was lucky enough to meet #DaveProwse at Dallas Comic Con a few years ago, and he couldn't have been more kind. The way he brought Vader to life on screen through his physicality, will live on forever. He was a huge staple in the middle of Star Wars and he will be greatly missed pic.twitter.com/KXeZwrBlpE— Taylor (@Enerdtayment) November 29, 2020
Admiration for his other roles...
As we mourn the passing of #DaveProwse, let us remember he was not only known for playing #DarthVader in #StarWars. He also had a notable performance in #StanleyKubrick’s #AClockworkOrange as the towering aide, Julian.
Rest in peace, David Prowse. pic.twitter.com/AvirTdOdxV— Screen Thrill (@ScreenThrill) November 29, 2020
Seriously the last fecking straw! 2020 you can feck right off, right now! #DaveProwse came to our school when I was little & did the #GreenCrossCode with us. He was so lovely & funny. Met him several times over the years. My heart hurts that he’s gone. RIP sweet man 💔😢— RaeK (@RaeMumma) November 29, 2020
'Green Cross Code Man'
RIP Dave Prowse. Even more than Darth Vader I’ll always remember him as Green Cross Code Man—teaching kids to look and listen as they cross the road. These ads were great. It’s as if they were done just yesterday but these were in the 1970s or thereabouts. https://t.co/DL5CgiOZ6u— Omar Moore (@thepopcornreel) November 29, 2020
RIP Dave Prowse pic.twitter.com/kUzbGrlAhe— Chris Bowstead ❤🩺🌈🔬🧪🔭 #AortaKnowBetter (@BunsenLearner) November 29, 2020
The 'Dark Lord'
RIP Dave Prowse. Who always stood tall as the dark lord of the Sith. pic.twitter.com/QQx9hMBfwl— Adam Sheehan (@neumaverick) November 29, 2020
I have felt a great disturbance in The Force.
RIP Dave Prowse.— ACCBiggz (@ACCBiggz) November 29, 2020
What it meant to be Darth Vader
RIP David Prowse; thank you for bringing Darth Vader, one of the greatest characters in cinema history to life. 1935-2020 pic.twitter.com/nngwE4WJ1N— Jedi Jargon: A Star Wars Podcast (@JediJargonPod) November 29, 2020
So much about what makes Darth Vader so intimidating is because of David Prowse. He gave the Sith Lord a physicality that would make him an icon. What a legacy to leave behind. Rest in peace, Dave Prowse. You were a powerhouse. 🖤💔 pic.twitter.com/U98CB7dsgr— Damien's Merry Scary Christmas. 🎃🎄 (@lofivampire) November 29, 2020
Sad to learn about the passing of David Prowse. @starwars was such a gigantic part of my childhood, all the actors were heroes to me. From Porkins to Vader. All heroes. Rest in power, Lord Vader. “David Prowse IS Darth Vader!” pic.twitter.com/C04nECTELl— player/coach (@CMPunk) November 29, 2020