Great Britain

Dave Prowse dead: Darth Vader actor and Green Cross Code Man dies after short illness, aged 85

DARTH Vader actor Dave Prowse has died aged 85 after a short illness.

The Star Wars actor, from Bristol, played Luke Skywalker's father and wore the iconic black suit in the original trilogy from 1977 to 1983.

The dad-of-three was nicknamed "Darth Farmer" by his co-star Carrie Fisher due to his strong West Country accent.

His agency Bowington Management described his death as "heart-wrenching" and said the news brings "sadness for us and millions of fans around the world".

Agent Thomas Bowington added: "May the force be with him, always!

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

Prowse's Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill called him "much more than Darth Vader".

He tweeted: "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."

The 6ft 6ins actor, who was also a weightlifter, wore the famous suit after landing the prestigious role due to his imposing physique.

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.

May the force be with him, always!"

His agent Thomas Bowington

Prowse then appeared in Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empires Strike Back and Return of the Jedi.

Although he wore the black armour, Darth Vader's voice was provided by US actor James Earl Jones.

Prowse became a huge figure in Britain due to his role as the Green Cross Code Man.

The famous character was used in British advertising to promote a road safety campaign aimed at children.

He described the role as the "best job I ever had" and his dedication earned him an MBE in 2000.

The much-loved actor also starred in Doctor Who, The Morecambe & Wise Show, The Two Ronnies and The Kenneth Williams Show.

He was also the personal trainer for the late Christopher Reeve when he played Superman.  

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

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