David Prowse 'Much More Than Darth Vader,' Says Mark Hamill As 'Star Wars' Fans Mourn Actor's Death

Actor Mark Hamill has paid tribute to his Star Wars co-star David Prowse following his death at the age of 85.

Briton Prowse was best known for his role as the antagonist in the film series' original trilogy, and was also a successful bodybuilder, a champion weightlifter, the face of a road safety campaign, and helped Christopher Reeve prepare for his role as Superman.

Hamill said Prowse was a "kind man" who was "much more than Darth Vader."

"So sad to hear David Prowse has passed, he wrote on Twitter. "He was 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. He loved his fans as much as they loved him.

So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was 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. He loved his fans as much as they loved him. #RIP pic.twitter.com/VbDrGu6iBz

— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 29, 2020

Prowse played Darth Vader in the earliest Star Wars movies, which were released in 1977, 1980 and 1983.

His agent, Thomas Bowington, said that the actor's death after a short illness was "a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans."

"May the force be with him, always!" he said in tribute.

"Though famous for playing many monsters - for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives."

Mark Hamill David Prowse
Mark Hamill, as Luke Skywalker, and David Prowse, as Darth vader, on the set of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi directed by Welsh Richard Marquand. Hamill has paid tribute to his co-star after his death aged 85. Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty

Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett in more recent Star Wars: Episode II Attack Of The Clones and is a regular at fan conventions, shared a picture of him with Prowse.

"Darth Vader wouldn't be the same without you in the costume. We had many fun times & laughs at cons together over the years," he wrote on Twitter.

"Glad to have been able to call you a friend. Rest now and be one with the Force!"

Sad to hear of the passing of a #StarWars family member. RIP Dave Prowse. Darth Vader wouldn't be the same without you in the costume. We had many fun times & laughs at cons together over the years. Glad to have been able to call you a friend. Rest now and be one with the Force! pic.twitter.com/st28CQGckF

— Daniel Logan (@Daniel_Logan) November 29, 2020

Prowse was invited to audition for the Vader and Chewbacca roles after being spotted by Star Wars director George Lucas for his performance as a bodyguard in the 1971 movie A Clockwork Orange. Prowse later told the BBC that he picked Vader because ''you always remember the bad guys.''

However, the character was voiced by James Earl Jones after movie-makers decided Prowse's West Country accent was not suitable for the part.

American actor Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films, also paid tribute, saying that his "stature contributed so much to Darth Vader's legend".

Actor David Prowse with 'Darth vader'
English actor David Prowse, who played the character of Darth Vader in the first Star Wars trilogy poses with a fan dressed up in a Darth Vader costume during a Star Wars convention on April 27, 2013 in Cusset, France. Prowse has died aged 85 following a short illness. THIERRY ZOCCOLAN/AFP/Getty

Many in the U.K. will also know Prowse for his role as the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero-like character who was the front of a road safety campaign in the 1970s.

British comedian still Bennett Arron joined those paying tribute, quoting the Green Cross Code Man's catchphrase "Stop, look and listen."

Sad to hear about the passing of David Prowse. To me, as well as being Darth Vader, I will always remember him as the Green Cross Code Man. I can still remember those immortal lines:
"Stop Luke, and Listen"

— Bennett Arron (@BennettArron) November 29, 2020

Prowse himself said the role was the "best job I ever had".

He received an MBE honour in 2000 for his services to charity and his work to improve road safety.

Before that role, Prowse was a successful athlete. He won the British Weight Lifting Heavyweight Championships for three consecutive years from 1962 to 1965, and represented Team England at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia.