Star Wars' David Prowse, the original Darth Vader actor, died from COVID-19 complications on Saturday at the age of 85, his daughter has revealed.
David Prowse’s daughter has revealed that her father died from COVID-19 complications. He died at the age of 85 on Saturday. Prowse was best known for his portrayal as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, and in 2015, he starred in I Am Your Father, a documentary about his iconic role.
Before his entry into the galaxy far, far away, Prowse appeared in a TV campaign and toured schools as the Green Cross Code Man, a role he is most proud of. He was awarded the MBE for helping cut road deaths with his work in this role. The 6’6 English actor was then cast by director George Lucas to portray Vader, voiced by actor James Earl Jones. Lucas initially offered Prowse a choice of parts between Vader or Chewbacca, and it was said he chose the former because “everyone remembers the villain.” It appears he was right, as Vader became one of the most iconic characters in cinema history. From education to education, Prowse treated his influence seriously -- and so do his fans, it seems, as tributes flowed in through social media following the announcement of his death.
In a recent interview with The Sun, Prowse’s daughter Rachel Prowse confirmed that her father, who had been suffering with Alzheimer’s, was hospitalized the last two weeks with COVID-19. Rachel confirmed the deadly virus was the cause of her father’s death, and she further lamented:
“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. He was such a larger-than-life character. He would have loved to see himself trending on Twitter.”
She added that coronavirus restrictions will prevent the family from holding “a big celebration of his life,” and that “we are not going to be able to do the send-off we would have wanted for him.” However, he will not go unrecognized. Although he may not receive the physical ceremony the family may have wanted, the virtual celebration of his life that echoed across the world symbolizes just how impactful his life and death has been.
Fans took to Twitter to post their consolations and praise of the actor, and fellow actors vocally expressed their grief at the loss. Star Wars star Mark Hamill paid tribute in an Instagram post, calling Prowse “a kind man & much more than Darth Vader. Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man.” Lucas himself added to the conversation, writing on the Star Wars website:
“[David] made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence...He was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace.”
COVID-19 has consumed the world at a tragic rate, and lockdown restrictions to enhance overall safety have also taken an emotional toll on those still persevering. One of the latest tragedies of the virus is Prowse’s death, though the reaction of the world speaks to how he will live on. As virtual tributes pour in grieving the legendary actor’s death, they also celebrate his inspiring, influential life.