David Prowse, actor, dies

David ProwseBritish-born actor and bodybuilder David Prowse, a towering figure who gained fame primarily as the physical embodiment of Darth Vader in the first three Star Wars films, dies after a brief illness at the age of 85. Sought after for movie roles – often non-speaking, and frequently in monster suits of one kind or another – Prowse had also played a Minotaur in Doctor Who (The Time Monster, 1972), a space creature in Space: 1999 (The Beta Cloud, 1976), and even after his sudden rise to fame via Star Wars, appeared in such roles as Hotblack Desiato’s bodyguard in the fifth episode of the BBC’s TV adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy in 1981, which offered him a rare speaking part. A favorite on the convention and autograph circuit, Prowse had only retired from a busy schedule of convention appearances a couple of years prior to his death. He was sought by George Lucas to play either Vader or Chewbacca after Lucas saw his brief appearance as a muscular bodyguard in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Prowse had also appeared as a superhero in a series of public safety announcements and films in the UK, which won him much acclaim over the years.