"He was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader," wrote Mark Hamill.
David Prowse, the British actor best known as the man under the Darth Vader suit in the original Star Wars trilogy films, died Saturday at the age of 85 following an illness.
"It is with great regret and heartbreaking sadness for us and millions of fans around the world to announce that our customer Dave Prowse MBE has passed away at the age of 85," Prowse's agent Bowington Management tweeted on Sunday.
Other fans and performers took to Twitter to pay tribute to Prowse, including Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill ("He was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader") to Star Wars superfan Edgar Wright, who wrote, "As a boy Dave Prowse couldn't be more famous to me. Stalking through corridors as the evil incarnation in the role of Darth Vader & preventing an entire generation of children from being mowed on the street as the Green Cross Code man. Rest in peace, Bristol's finest. "
“It was a great gift to work with and an honor to call him my friend,” wrote Billy Dee Williams. The Mandalorian cast Rosario Dawson and Star Trek director William Shatner also paid tribute. See below.
Born in 1935, Prowse was a weightlifting champion in his early days, won the British Championship in 1962 and represented England at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane that year.
Other film roles that led to "Star Wars" were Frankenstein's Monster in "Casino Royale" from 1967 and again "The Horror of Frankenstein" in 1970 and "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell" in 1974. He had a small one Role in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" in 1971, which caught the attention of George Lucas, who allegedly auditioned Prowse for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca before Prowse eventually went to the Dark Side. However, due to the Prowse accent, the voice was performed by James Earl Jones.
Prowse had another focus in British culture from 1975 with his debut as "Green Cross Cod Man", a superhero who plays the lead role in a British road safety campaign for children. In 2000 he was awarded the Best Order of the British Empire.
It's so sad to hear that David Prowse has passed away. He was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader. Actor husband father member of the Order of the British Empire 3 times British weightlifting champion & safety symbol 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
Incredibly sad to hear that Dave Prowse has passed away. It was a great gift to work with and an honor to call him my friend call # RIPDaveProwse #StarWars
– Billy Dee Williams (@realbdw) November 29, 2020
Sorry to hear that my Twitter friend David Prowse has passed away. David, a literal giant among men, has played many roles in his career. His most famous role was the misunderstood father trying to give the universe to his very disobedient twins. #Darth Vader
– William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) November 29, 2020
Rest in Power David Prowse. The power is with you and your loved ones. Has always been. Always will be. #TimeToShineInTheLight pic.twitter.com/rFkyAJnZnW
– Rosario Dawson (@rosariodawson) November 29, 2020
As a kid, Dave Prowse couldn't be more famous to me. Stalking through corridors as the evil incarnation in the role of Darth Vader & preventing an entire generation of children from being mowed on the street as the Green Cross Code man. Rest in peace, Bristol's finest. https://t.co/VYdxM37JWb
– edgarwright (@edgarwright) November 29, 2020