News/Op-Ed: David Prowse, British Heavyweight Weightlifting Champion And Most Notably The Man Behind The Mask Of Darth Vader, Passed Away Saturday At The Age Of 85.
by Andrew Fierro
The man behind Darth Vader, Prowse had a profound impact on the Star Wars Franchise and fans worldwide, even if he didn’t voice the famed villain. Unfortunately, Prowse passed away at the age of 85 on Saturday due to COVID-19.
Prowse was born in Bristol, United Kingdom on July 1, 1935. He went on to do many amazing things in his life, including becoming a weightlifting champion in Britain and also being the first Green Cross Code man.
However, what most people know him as is portraying one of the most iconic movie villains in history, Darth Vader.
David Prowse was 41 years old when George Lucas asked him to audition for the role after seeing him in the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film, A Clockwork Orange.
He had the choice between playing Chewbacca or Darth Vader, choosing to play Darth Vader because he believed that everyone always remembers the villain. He would be absolutely correct in that prophecy.
After receiving the role of Darth Vader and playing him for some time on set, George Lucas made the decision that his voice would be scrapped in post-production due to his heavy British accent that didn’t fit the character.
This would lead to the voice being portrayed by James Earl Jones, while Prowse handled actual Darth Vader character duties.
Though Darth Vader was his most popular role, he had other roles in his acting career, including playing Julian the Bodyguard in “A Clockwork Orange”.
He also worked to help other actors prepare for a role, helping Christopher Reeve get ready for his role in the 1978 version of “Superman”.
Despite his rise to fame during adulthood, Prowse faced many adversities in his younger life that he had to overcome, such as having disabilities, having no father in his life after he passed when David was 5, and being a poor student.
When he was 12 years old, he had to spend 3 years wearing a leg-iron because the doctors suspected that he had tuberculosis, though that was later proved to be unfounded.
When David was younger he found a passion early on for weightlifting and bodybuilding. Due to his passion and hard work, he was regarded as a highly regarded member of the fitness community, receiving many awards for competing in weightlifting competitions, including his win of the British Heavyweight Weightlifting Title. One of his most popular appearances was his appearance in the Mr. Universe contest.
David Prowse lived in the spotlight for most of his life, whether it was in weightlifting competitions or movies. Though he was most known for his role as Darth Vader, he was a very successful man in whatever craft he put his mind to.
He will be remembered as an amazing actor for portraying one of the most iconic and intimidating villains in movie history, as well as for being a well-respected actor and person who overcame lots of adversity.
Rest In Peace, David Prowse.