Between himself and James Earl Jones, David Prowse, the champion English weightlifter and bodybuilder created Darth Vader. Jones supplied the voice and Prowse supplied his 6-foot-7 frame in the black costume that captivated a generation of moviegoers. Prowse died early in the morning on Saturday following a short illness. He was 85.
Prowse also portrayed the Frankenstein monster in three movies: the James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967) and, for Hammer Films, The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974), with Peter Cushing.
Prowse was also in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange playing as the muscular manservant working for author Frank Alexander.
He was awarded an OBE for a public service commercial he filmed in the UK playing the Green Cross Code Man — a superhero-like character used in public-service advertisements to help children get across the street safely.
After a sickly childhood, Prowse ompeted for the Mr. Universe bodybuilding title in 1960 before capturing the British weightlifting championship three straight years running, from 1962-64. (At age 50, he was still able to dead-lift 700 pounds.)
Prowse’s first forays into acting included gigs on The Beverly Hillbillies, The Saint and Doctor Who, and he went on to star as “The Mighty Tonka” in a toy commercial directed by Ridley Scott.
George Lucas had seen him in Clockwork Orange and offered him a part in the first Star Wars .