Dave Prowse, actor who played Darth Vader, dies at 85

Dave Prowse, actor who played Darth Vader, dies at 85
David Prowse, the British actor behind the menacing black mask of Star Wars villain Darth Vader, died on Nov. 29, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 29 November 2020

Dave Prowse, actor who played Darth Vader, dies at 85

Dave Prowse, actor who played Darth Vader, dies at 85
  • Dave Prowse was also known to a generation of British children as the Green Cross Code Man

LONDON: Dave Prowse, the British weightlifter-turned-actor who played Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, has died. He was 85.
Prowse died Saturday after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said Sunday.
Born in Bristol, southwest England, in 1935, Prowse represented England in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games in the 1950s before breaking into movies with roles that emphasized his commanding size, including Frankenstein’s monster in a pair of horror films.
Director George Lucas saw Prowse in a small part in “A Clockwork Orange” and asked the 6-foot-6-inch (2-meter) actor to audition for the villainous Vader or the wookie Chewbacca in “Star Wars.”
Prowse later told the BBC he chose Darth Vader because “you always remember the bad guys.”
Physically, Prowse was perfect for the part. His lilting English West Country accent was considered less ideal, and his lines were dubbed by James Earl Jones.
Prowse was also known to a generation of British children as the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero in a series of road safety advertisements
“Ant-Man” director Edgar Wright paid tribute to Prowse on Twitter.
“As a kid Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader & stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man,” he wrote. “Rest in Peace, Bristol’s finest.”


Review: ‘Outside the Wire’ stays inside the box

Anthony Mackie cements his leading man status in an uncomplicated Netflix sci-fi thriller. Supplied
Anthony Mackie cements his leading man status in an uncomplicated Netflix sci-fi thriller. Supplied
Updated 17 January 2021

Review: ‘Outside the Wire’ stays inside the box

Anthony Mackie cements his leading man status in an uncomplicated Netflix sci-fi thriller. Supplied

LONDON: Seemingly overnight, Anthony Mackie has gone from supporting player in the sprawling Marvel universe to one of Netflix’s most bankable action leads, appearing in such diverse shows as Charlie Brooker’s “Black Mirror,”  season two of “Altered Carbon” and the ambitious 2019 sci-fi epic “IO.”

Leading man status is hardly a surprise since Mackie has proven himself capable of dramatic heft in films such as “The Hurt Locker” and sardonic camaraderie when playing Sam Wilson, Captain America’s friend and sidekick.

But it makes it all the more disappointing when a film doesn’t give him enough to do. In “Outside the Wire” Mackie plays Leo, an android super soldier embedded in a European war zone who recruits a naive drone pilot to help him prevent nuclear armageddon.

In what could have been a fascinatingly paradoxical (maybe even cerebral) spin on the genre, Leo is a weapon with an anti-war stance. He is designed to win hearts and minds, but is capable of shockingly efficient bouts of violence. And, in another potentially fascinating narrative move, he is partnered with rookie soldier Thomas Harp (British actor Damson Idris), who has never seen conflict up close.

These ingredients could make for an altogether different take on the standard military action thriller, but Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom opts for the safe, spectacular path instead. All of which is done very well, though a little long.

“Outside the Wire” is nicely paced, well choreographed and avoids any narrative lulls by knowing precisely when to ramp up the action. Mackie packs a (literal) punch when called for, but is never given much more to do than scowl and kick terrorists through walls.

The movie is perfect middle-of-the-road sci-fi — it asks a few interesting questions, but never really troubles itself trying to come up with the answers.