David Prowse, the British weightlifting champion and man behind the Darth Vader mask, has died. He was 85. The actor’s management company shared the news of his passing early Sunday morning on social media “with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and million of fans around the world.”
Prowse wore the Darth Vader costume in the original Star Wars trilogy, while James Earl Jones provided the villain’s iconic voice. At a towering 6-foot-7 tall, the actor was originally offered a choice between the role of Vader or Chewbacca. In an interview with NPR in 2008, Prowse explained why he chose the villain.
“Well, if you think back on all the movies that you’ve ever seen where there are goodies and baddies … you always remember the baddie,” he said.