James Earl Jones may have lent his sonorous tones to Darth Vader’s iconic booming voice, but the onscreen performance itself came from former bodybuilder David Prowse. Legend has it that he didn’t know his lines would be dubbed over until he’d seen A New Hope for the first time, and it seems hilarious at this stage to imagine the most fearsome villain in the galaxy sporting the actor’s thick Bristol accent.
Following Prowse’s death at the age of 85, tributes have been pouring in from every corner of the internet. While Star Wars will rightfully define his career, there were many more strings to his bow. After making his big screen debut as Frankenstein’s Creature in the 1967 spoof version of James Bond novel Casino Royale, the newcomer quickly cornered a wide open gap in the market looking for very tall and physically imposing people to play various creatures and monsters.
This let to guest spots on Space: 1999 and Doctor Who, while he also portrayed Mary Shelley’s literary creation twice more in The Horror of Frankenstein and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, as well as making a brief appearance in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Tons of fans have been paying tribute to Prowse following his passing on social media, and you can check out just some of the reactions below.
Rest In Peace to the original Darth Vader, May the force be with you ?? pic.twitter.com/0OXY3NiUgO
— StarWarsOnly (@StarWarsOnly2) November 29, 2020
rest in peace david prowse ✨❤️
thank you for bringing darth vader to life. for being a fan favourite for star wars fans for generations.
may the force be with you ❤️ pic.twitter.com/yr4AvfVUOF
— amy ? RIP DAVID PROWSE ✨ (@bnskywker) November 29, 2020
R.I.P David Prowse he will not be forgotten May the force be with you. pic.twitter.com/tqL1NrwgwO
— Darth Vader (@vader66_lord) November 29, 2020
Sad to hear of the passing of #DaveProwse ..The ultimate villian for a lot of #StarWars fans around the world.. I met him at a fan event & he was a gentleman with some great stories…!!☹️☹️.. It goes without saying and to paraphrase that famous line.."May The Force Be With Him". pic.twitter.com/tB1tsvR5jT
— Colin Craig (@collycomic) November 29, 2020
— Jorge Fornés (@jfornes74) November 29, 2020
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SAD NEWS: David Prowse, who physically portrayed Darth Vader in the Star Wars Original Trilogy, has passed away at age 85. May the force be with him. Always.
#RIPDavidProwse #DarthVader pic.twitter.com/AyOnaRZjBx
— Price of Reason (@priceoreason) November 29, 2020
Rest in peace David. Thank you for everything you have done to Star Wars. May the Force be with you? pic.twitter.com/3NMg4yTInK
— Darth Czesio | mando spoilers (@DarthCzesio) November 29, 2020
— Kamran Pasha (@kamranpasha) November 29, 2020
In honor of David Prowse, here is an Appreciation Tweet to appreciate him and his role as the true lord of the Sith, Darth Vader ❤
May the Force be with you David Prowse, always ! pic.twitter.com/LPIrjKCGPb
— The Gaming General ?? (@TheGGeneralYT) November 29, 2020
May the force be with you, Dave Prowse
Rest in peace. The legacy you have left will be remembered forever. pic.twitter.com/AcPqCZ6zrh
— Peanuts High Council (@peanutshcouncil) November 29, 2020
Despite being banned by Lucasfilm from all official Star Wars events in 2010 without any official reason being given, David Prowse will always remain a vital part of the franchise’s history, as well as leaving a lasting imprint on cinema in general having been the personal trainer to Christopher Reeve and Cary Elwes for Superman and The Princess Bride respectively, while during his competition days, he befriended an unknown young bodybuilder with a thick Austrian accent who had dreams of making it big in Hollywood.