David Prowse, towering actor who played Darth Vader in 'Star Wars,' dies aged 85 https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/nc...EGm96HOMyISVXFAILBFjscqQ8tuGavo3ZLCL9PozddISo David Prowse, the towering actor who terrified generations of movie-watchers for playing Darth Vader in the original 'Star Wars' trilogy, has died aged 85. He died after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington confirmed to NBC News Sunday morning. Born in Bristol, England, in 1935, Prowse was a competitive weightlifter before entering showbusiness, winning the British heavyweight lifting championship three years in a row from 1962. His bodybuilding prowess led him to become a personal trainer to various screen stars, including Christopher Reeve while he was preparing for 'Superman.' Prowse had several minor acting roles as monsters and tough guys before his break came courtesy of Stanley Kubrick's controversial and ultra-violent 'A Clockwork Orange' in 1971, in which he played a bodyguard. He was also well known to British children in the 1970s as the face of a road safety TV campaign — which earned him an MBE, a civil honor awarded by the royal family to recognize contributions to public life. But his most memorable role came as George Lucas was casting for 1977's 'Star Wars: A New Hope.' "George said he could offer me two parts — the first was a hairy gorilla called Chewbacca," Prowse told the Bristol Post newspaper on a trip to his home city in 2009. "I said I wasn't too interested because I didn't want to wear a mask — I wanted to play a part where people could see my face. "He said the other part was the central villain and I told him, 'That will do'. But I never realized the villain would also be wearing a mask!"