David Prowse Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (40)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (5)

Born in Bristol, England, UK
Died in London, England, UK  (unspecified)
Birth NameDavid Charles Prowse
Nickname Darth Farmer
Height 6' 6½" (2 m)

Mini Bio (1)

David "Dave" Prowse was born into a working class family on 1 July, 1935 in Bristol, England, UK. He was raised by his mother and never knew his father. As a child, David was disadvantaged and a poor student, he found a passion for bodybuilding and weight training in his early teens, as a young adult, David often entered weightlifting competitions and contested in the famous Mr. Universe contest. Eventually, David won the British heavyweight weightlifting title and gained status as a highly regarded and respected member of the fitness community. Over this period of competitive weightlifting, David became lifelong friends with actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, who at the time were not professional actors but rival competitors. After appearing on various broadcast sporting events, David was offered a role in the feature film Casino Royale (1967) as "Frankenstein's Monster". Although the casting was based on David's stature, David developed a strong interest in acting and decided to pursue it further.

From 1967 to 1977, David enjoyed a quiet, but very successful career within film and television starring in such films as A Clockwork Orange (1971), Up Pompeii (1971) and numerous Hammer House of Horror films, gaining a vast and bulky CV. In 1975, David's popularity as a respected fitness guru landed him with the role and duty of the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero designed by the British road safety committee to teach road safety to children. The persona saw David traveling the world to give talks, demonstrations and shoot short television spots based on the hero's message. Proving successful the Green Cross Code Man continued to be a side project throughout David's busy career until the 1990s. He considers this role to be of great importance, and has stated many times that it is possibly the most rewarding job he has held.

It was not until 1977 when David attended an audition for a film entitled Star Wars. The film was not considered to be a big thing at the time and the audition was held by director George Lucas. At the meeting, George offered David either the part of Chewbacca or Darth Vader. Instantly turning away the role of Chewbacca, David insisted he play the lead villain Darth Vader. George asked David why he wanted to play Vader and he replied "Everyone remembers the villain, George." David also had a wealth of experience playing villains in previous films, and was the obvious choice. David played the role of Darth Vader for the entirety of the original Star Wars trilogy: Star Wars (1977), Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). Although David does not voice the character, he is the physical body. Star Wars was perhaps David's most important role and a role that has enlisted him as one of the most memorable character villains of all time.

There have been many rumors, disputes and discussions about David's relationship with Star Wars and its staff. Regarding the apparent misled information David received about Vader's voice, promotional neglect and general mistreatment from Lucasfilm. This feud resulted in David being banned from all official Star Wars events. A statement from George Lucas read "He has burnt too many bridges." David stated that a majority of the rumors in circulation regarding the topic are fabricated and false including those of respectable actors involved, and has openly admitted his support of James Earl Jones as the voice of Vader and claims Lucas film were too concerned with keeping Vader a character than letting David receive deserved credit. The topic is covered in detail, in David's autobiography "Straight from the Force's Mouth". After Star Wars, David continued to work in television and film, making numerous appearances with the legendary Benny Hill. He continued to tour as the Green Cross Code Man and became the personal fitness trainer of many celebrities including Daniel Day-Lewis and Vanessa Redgrave.

David was loyal to Star Wars fans and participated in a number of fan-films as various characters spoofing Star Wars. Towards the end of David's busy acting period, his health declined due to a serious inflammation of arthritis, leaving him unable to stand for long periods of time and inflicting agonizing pain on his knees and hips. Undergoing treatment with hip replacement operations, it was discovered that David had prostate cancer in 2009. After a series of radiotherapy treatments at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, David made a full recovery in a remarkably short period of time. David was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2000 Queen's Millennium Honours List for his contributions to charity and spokesmanship for road safety, the disabled and other various charities. From 2004, David began writing his autobiography entitled "Straight from the Force's Mouth," which covers his career in showbiz and documents an unedited diary account of the Star Wars production. The book was published officially in hardback by Apex Publishing in 2011, and David toured Europe to attend book signings and personal appearances.

Over the course of his career, between acting and touring the world both as the Green Cross Code Man and David Prowse, David trained actors for films including Christopher Reeve for Superman (1978), wrote fitness books "Fitness is Fun", supported charity and even became the head of fitness for superstore Harrods. In the 2000s, David spent his time attending unofficial Star Wars events, conventions and film events where he signed photos, spoke to the fans and was in high demand as a public speaker all over the world.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: LWS

Family (1)

Spouse Norma E. Scammell (5 October 1963 - 28 November 2020)  (his death)  (3 children)

Trade Mark (3)

Towering height and muscular physique.
Darth Vader in the Star Wars films.
Lazy eye.

Trivia (40)

Is a former weightlifting champion.
Trained Christopher Reeve for the title role in the first Superman (1978) movie.
Was the Green Cross Code Man, a character used in a UK Government road safety campaign to teach children how to cross the road safely.
Owned a gym "The Dave Prowse Fitness Centre" in London, England. His brother Bob Prowse used to manage it for him before opening his own Health Club in Maidstone.
Because of his loftiness, George Lucas hired him to occupy the costume of Darth Vader in Star Wars (1977). But because of his British accent, Lucas chose James Earl Jones as the voice of Vader
Appeared as a strongman in the famous "Wishing Well" sketch from the first season of The Benny Hill Show (1969), which was used by the show's American syndicator to pitch the program to U.S. television stations.
He commented in an interview that he was unaware that his voice been dubbed with that of James Earl Jones' until he saw the movie Star Wars (1977) on opening night.
Once complained in an interview that he felt he "wasn't getting any publicity" for his work as Darth Vader.
Attended the 1st Central American Star Wars Convention at Guatemala City, Guatemala on July 27-28, 2002, to talk about his character (Darth Vader) on the first Star Wars trilogy, along with Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett).
Attended Bristol Grammar School in Bristol, England. Actors Julian Glover and Timothy West were in the same year there.
When Sebastian Shaw was revealed in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) as the "man behind Darth Vader's mask", Darth Vader became the first recurring role in a movie series to be played by three actors at the same time: body by Prowse, voice by James Earl Jones and face by Sebastian Shaw.
He was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2000 Queen's Millennium Honours List for his services to charity and road safety.
He was the special guest at the first sci-fi convention in the northwest (England) at Lancaster and Morecambe College on 3rd October 2004.
Despite the fame of Darth Vader, Prowse says that the role he is most proud of is the Green Cross Code Man.
He was barred from doing the lightsaber duels in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) because he kept breaking the poles that stood in for the laser blades during the first film. The lightsaber duels in the sequels were instead done by Bob Anderson, the swordmaster who handled the lightsaber choreography; in order to make up for the height difference, Bob Anderson wore platform shoes and was often filmed from low angles.
For a while he and James Earl Jones had never met in person. Prowse revealed at cons during his last years that he had finally met Jones in 2012.
Three clips are available on the Star Wars making of documentary DVD of Prowse speaking Darth Vader's lines.
Said that of all the directors he worked with while making the original Star Wars trilogy, Irvin Kershner, who directed Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), was his favorite. David praised Irvin Kershner in an interview for being very helpful and supportive of the actors.
Before he entered films, he was a hardworking apprentice engineer at BOAC in Bristol.
His performance as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy is ranked #84 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Played part of the aide to Patrick Magee's character in the movie A Clockwork Orange (1971). He was chosen due to the fact that he was able to lift and carry the wheelchair-bound Magee. He said that the director was not known as "one-take Kubrick" and he had to repeat the scene multiple times. At one point, the shooting was halted because the recording technician said that there was a strange noise in the last take. This was discovered to be due to a microphone that was on David and picking up his accelerated heartbeat and heavier breathing.
In Casino Royale (1967), he plays a character known only as "Sir". He looks like Frankenstein's Creature, but is never called or credited as such. "Sir" is only in the film a few seconds.
Diagnosed with prostate cancer in early 2009. Announced in February 2010 that he had made a full recovery following intensive radio therapy at a London hospital.
Has a passion for motorcycles and in his early career owned many.
Currently lives in Croydon, London, England. [February 2004]
Celebrity attraction at Toys4BigBoys in Dublin, Ireland. [November 2009]
Attended Collectormania 7 in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. [May 2005]
He is the only actor to play Frankenstein's Monster in more than one Hammer film: The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974).
A friend of David Jason since the beginning of Jason's TV career.
He has three roles in common with Spencer Wilding: (1) Prowse played Frankenstein's Monster in Casino Royale (1967), The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974) while Wilding played him in Victor Frankenstein (2015), (2) Prowse played the Minotaur in Doctor Who: The Time Monster: Episode Five (1972) and Doctor Who: The Time Monster: Episode Six (1972) while Wilding played it in Wrath of the Titans (2012) and (3) Prowse played Darth Vader in Star Wars (1977), Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) while Wilding played him in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016).
Stood 6' 6" tall in his prime.
In 1983, shortly before the release of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), the English newspaper The Daily Mail published an article hinting at Darth Vader's fate in the film. It was speculated that Prowse was behind the leak as a result of being replaced for the scene where Vader is unmasked, even though he maintained that this was impossible, since he was unaware of the film's overall plot. A 2015 documentary revealed that an unnamed crew member had talked to the paper. The incident still led to a strained relationship between Prowse and Lucasfilm. Specifically, Prowse has not received any residuals from the film despite being contractually entitled to a percentage of the profits, was not interviewed for the 2004 DVD release of the original trilogy and was even banned from attending official Star Wars events in 2010.
Prior to his retirement from public appearances at the age of 83, he attended Star Wars, Sci-Fi and autograph conventions where he would sit and sign items non-stop for eight hours. He claimed to have taken no toilet breaks or meal breaks when doing this.
Following his retirement, he no longer provided personally signed autographs.
He announced his retirement from acting and public appearances. Originally planned to be effective in January 2018, he already withdrew in November 2017 based on the recommendation of his doctors. [September 2017]
Appeared in two films nominated for Best Picture Oscar: A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Star Wars (1977).
Upon his death, he was cremated and his ashes returned to his widow.
Was the only then-living 'Star Wars' cast member who played the same character in all three original 'Star Wars' films, not to reprise the role in either the prequel trilogy (1999-2005) or the sequel trilogy (2015-2019).
He has appeared in three films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: A Clockwork Orange, Star Wars, & The Empire Strikes Back.
Father of James Prowse.

Personal Quotes (6)

[on having to choose between playing Darth Vader and Chewbacca in "Star Wars"]: I took the part of the villain because everyone remembers the villain.
[on his work as the Green Cross Code Man]: "Best job I've ever had."
[Asked if during the making of the original Star Wars trilogy at any point, did he feel claustrophobic due to the mask and suit completely covering his whole body while at Collectormania 10 at Milton Keynes] "The suit was made to fit and was very, very comfortable, so no I didn't feel at all claustrophobic, but the only problem I did experience was that in the mask I got very, very hot!"
(2010) On his fight with prostate cancer: "I've won the fight and I'm feeling better than ever. Everyone was shocked by how well it all (treatment) went".
[on missing out on payments for his Darth Vader performance] I get these occasional letters from Lucasfilm saying that we regret to inform you that as Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) has never gone into profit, we've got nothing to send you.
[on being replaced as the face of Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)] Everybody comes up and says, 'It wasn't you they unmasked as Darth Vader, was it?' and I say, 'Well, no, it wasn't actually.' The guy that played Darth Vader was a guy called Sebastian Shaw and Sebastian Shaw was a good friend of Alec Guinness's and, by all accounts, he was out of work. He'd been out of work for a long period and he was having a bad time financially. And he said to Sir Alec, 'Could you do me a favour?' He said, 'I'm destitute. Is there any chance of you having a word with George Lucas to see if there's a possibility of a part in this movie?' So Alec had a word with George and George said, 'The only part we can offer you is the dying Darth Vader.' And all this was done without me knowing anything about it. I mean, I'm watching the movie and they unmask somebody completely different and then you sort of think, 'Well, why wasn't that me?' But then, when you learn how it all came about, you know, if it helped him in any way, then all well and good. But everybody comes up to me and says, 'Why wasn't it you that was unmasked as Darth Vader?' And I say, 'I'll tell you about it later.'

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