Laughing Place is sad to share that Dave Prowse, the physical half of Darth Vader’s performance in the original Star Wars trilogy, has passed away at the age of 85 in London following an unspecified illness.

Born in Bristol in 1935, the 6’6” bodybuilder became a champion and made friends with future stars including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. Hollywood soon came calling with roles that included playing Frankenstein thrice (including the James Bond spoof Casino Royale), Doctor Who, and the Stanley Kubrick classic A Clockwork Orange, where he caught the attention of young filmmaker George Lucas.

Cast as the on-screen performance of Darth Vader in Star Wars, Dave Prowse’s accent wasn’t menacing enough for the part and his role was later dubbed by James Earl Jones. When Prowse auditioned, he was also given the option to play Chewbacca, leaving that role for Peter Mayhew in favor of playing a villain. Peter Mayhew’s family shared a loving tribute to the actor on Twitter with a photo that also features the late Kenny Baker, who helped bring R2-D2 to life.

While Darth Vader would be his most famous role, the one he was most proud of was Green Cross Code Man, a public safety campaign in the United Kingdom that helped teach children about pedestrian safety.

In addition to acting roles, Dave Prowse also trained other actors for physical roles, including Christopher Reeve for his turn as Superman and Cary Elwes for the part of Westley in The Princess Bride.

Dave Prowse loved meeting Star Wars fans and was a popular guest and fan conventions over the years. In 2011, he published his own memoir titled Straight from the Force’s Mouth: The Autobiography of Dave Prowse MBE.

Dave Prowse is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and fans during this difficult time.