HOLLYWOOD HILLS—David Charles Prowse, 85, a retired bodybuilder, fitness instructor, and who donned the costume worn by the villain Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” films died Saturday, November 28 in a hospital in London.
Prowse was born in Bristol England on July 1, 1935, he attended Bristol Grammar School. He was awarded the British heavyweight weightlifting championship in 1962. The British actor also played a circus strong man in the film “Vampire Circus” in 1972, in 1975 he played superhero Green Cross Code Man who was a hero who promoted street-crossing safety to children.
David Prowse trained several actors for their roles. In 1978, he trained Christopher Reeves for the role of “Superman,” and in 1987 he helped Cary Elwes perfect his role as Wesley in “The Princess Bride.” Prowse appeared in many films and television shows, including “Frankenstein’s Monster,” “Doctor Who,” “Clockwork Orange,” “Casino Royale,” and “The Benny Hill Show.” In Prowse’s role as Darth Vader, he wore the mask while, Academy Award winner James Earl Jones, 89, portrayed Vader’s voice.
The actor suffered from arthritis since the age of 13. He developed septic arthritis, as an adult, and had multiple hip surgeries. In 2001, Prowse became paralyzed in both arms. In March 2009, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but reported after several treatments he was in remission.
On October 16, he retired from the entertainment industry. On November 14, he suffered memory loss. He was married to Norma E. Scammell and has three children.