‘Bristol’s finest’ Dave Prowse hailed as tributes pour in for Darth Vader actor

Undated handout file photo of Dave Prowse reprising his role as the Green Cross Code Man in 2014. Dave Prowse, the Bristol ac
Undated handout file photo of Dave Prowse reprising his role as the Green Cross Code Man in 2014. Dave Prowse, the Bristol actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died aged 85.

Tributes to late actor Dave Prowse have hailed his contribution to creating the “legend” of Darth Vader, his work on road safety, and for the generosity he showed Star Wars fans.

Writing on Twitter, film director Edgar Wright highlighted Prowse’s work as the Green Cross Code Man teaching young people to stop, look and listen before crossing the road in a long-running TV campaign.

Wright tweeted: “As a kid Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader & stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man. Rest in Peace, Bristol’s finest.”

Tributes also came from actors and fans of the Star Wars universe, to which Prowse contributed the physical performance of super-villain Darth Vader in the original three films.

American actor Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed in the Rocky films and appears in Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian, said on Twitter: “RIP David Prowse. That stature contributed so much to Darth Vader’s legend. #BePeace.”

Actor Anthony Daniels, who has portrayed the droid C-3PO throughout the nine main films in the Star Wars saga, tweeted: “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.”

Comic book artist Staz Johnson, whose work includes Batman, The Avengers and Dr Who, recalled the “dominating power” of Prowse’s movement.

He said on Twitter: “Sad to hear of Dave Prowse’ passing. I know people go on about how JEJ’s (James Earl Jones) voice *made* Vader, & not to undermine that, but just LOOK at what DP’s physical presence brought to the role, the grace & dominating power of his movements (esp in ANH), the movements of an athlete.”

Neil Livesy, a Star Wars fan who met Prowse a number of times and worked with him at a convention in England, described him as a “very generous guy”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “Most of the actors who play parts in the Star Wars movies are very accessible and Dave was probably top of that tree.

“He loved meeting the fans, he loved travelling the world, going to conventions and just signing autographs, posing for photographs and talking about his role in the movie.”

Recalling the actor’s time in Liverpool, he said the pair had gone to a restaurant for dinner and been swarmed by fans.

Mr Livesy, who has been a collector of Star Wars memorabilia for 43 years, said: “I was lucky enough to work with Dave at a convention in Liverpool, took him to a well-known restaurant for dinner and called a taxi but had to send it away again because of the number of people in the restaurant that wanted to stop him for an autograph or a photograph, and the taxi guy said ‘I’ve got to go’ and away he went.”

Actor Stephen McGann also paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “Rest well, Dave Prowse x. I once heard something I’ve tried hard to remember. If one can live a life that aims to do very little harm, then one might contribute a lot that’s positive.

“Mr Prowse seemed to embody this modesty for me. It’s no small thing to tell good stories.”

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