English actor David Prowse, best known as portraying Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, died on Saturday, November 28 due to complications with covid-19, Deadline reports. He was 85 years old.
Prowse, who also suffered from Alzheimer’s, was hospitalized for two weeks before he died. “It’s horrible that Covid restrictions meant we did not get to see him and say goodbye. But when we went to collect his stuff from the hospital the nurse said what a cool guy he was,” David Prowse’s daughter Rachel Prowse told UK reporters, according to TMZ. “He was such a larger-than-life character. He would have loved to see himself trending on Twitter.”
Prior to his titular role as Darth Vader, one of the most iconic villains of all time, Prowse was a bodybuilder and weightlifter, competing in Mr. Universe competitions and shredding “phone books under the stage-name Jack the Ripper,” according to The Guardian. He won the British heavyweight weightlifting championship three times. Prowse began his acting career in the 1967 spy-parody film Casino Royale as Frankenstein’s Monster. He spent most of his time as Darth Vader behind the iconic helmet—and, however unfortunately, had his lines dubbed over by James Earl Jones in post. Naturally, he and George Lucas had a falling out.
And yet, Prowse will always be remembered for his role as Darth Vader, and not the unfortunate circumstances of his death. I only hope this serves as a reminder that the covid-19 pandemic is nowhere near done, and it will continue to harm, so wear a goddamn mask (or a Darth Vader helmet, if you so choose).