James Earl Jones may be the first actor who comes to the minds of Star Wars fans when they think about Darth Vader. But the villain wouldn’t have been nearly as imposing if it wasn’t for towering presence of actor David Prowse, the actor who was actually on set and inside Darth Vader’s suit for the original Star Wars trilogy. Sadly, it has been reported that David Prowse has passed away at age 85.

CNN received a statement from David Prowse’s management company confirming that David Prowse had passed away. Bowington Management said, “It’s with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and million of fans around the world, to announce that our client David Prowse has passed away at the age of 85.” Prowse’s agent Thomas Bowington said the actor died after battling an unspecified short illness, but CNN noted that Prowse had been treated for prostate cancer in 2018.

In the statement to BBC, Prowse’s agent added, “May the force be with him, always. Though famous for playing many monsters — for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives.”

Here’s a video of David Prowse suiting up as Darth Vader on the set of Star Wars in 1976:

Here's Dave Prowse getting dressed on set in 1976. pic.twitter.com/JTwp942jIK

— Filmumentaries (@jamieswb) November 29, 2020

Though Darth Vader might have been Prowse’s most famous role, the one he was most proud of was as the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero invented to promote a road safety campaign for children in 1975. The advertisements featuring Prowse aired from 1975 to 1990, and he would reprise the role again in 2014 for a couple new advertisements in the campaign.

Aside from standing 6-feet, 6-inches tall, Prowse was also a three-time British Weightlifting Champion in the 1960s, which only made his screen presence as Darth Vader more intimidating. It was this physique that landed him various film and TV roles as monsters, villains, bodyguards and other imposing characters.

Prowse played the famous monster in The Horror of Frankenstein in 1970, a role he would reprise in Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell in 1974. Prowse was also credited as a “Bearded Torturer” in Carry on Henry VIII in 1971, an executioner in The People That Time Forgot in 1977, and many more small parts in shows like The Beverly Hillbillies, Doctor Who, The Saint, The Tomorrow People, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and more. Prowse also had a hand in helping Christopher Reeve step into the role of Superman as one of the personal trainers who worked with the actor for the movies.

David Prowse attended endless sci-fi conventions to meet and greet Star Wars fans, and he will always be remembered as the original Darth Vader. Our thoughts go out to all of his friends and family during this difficult time. Rest in peace.

The post David Prowse, The Towering Actor Who Played Darth Vader in ‘Star Wars’, Has Died at 85 appeared first on /Film.