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Star Wars star David Prowse is laid to rest

Darth Vader goes to the dark side: Star Wars actor David Prowse is laid to rest at small family funeral because of Covid rules with a wreath in the shape of legendary villain’s helmet

  • David Prowse portrayed villain Darth Vader in the original three Star Wars films
  • His daughter confirmed he died from Coronavirus last month, at the age of 85 
  • The actor was most proud of playing Green Cross Code Man in television adverts

Star Wars actor David Prowse has been laid to rest with a wreath in the shape of a Darth Vader helmet. 

The legendary actor passed away last month at the age of 85 following a short battle with coronavirus

The star was laid to rest at a small socially-distanced ceremony with wreaths in his memory including the emblem of the Green Cross Code Man; the role of which he was most proud, and earned him an MBE.  

Despite being the man behind the mask, Prowse’s West Country accent was deemed not suitable for the voice of the super-villain

Star Wars actor David Prowse was laid to rest with a wreath in the shape of a Darth Vader helmet

Star Wars actor David Prowse was laid to rest with a wreath in the shape of a Darth Vader helmet

The bodybuilder-turned-actor was most proud of playing the Green Cross Code Man

The bodybuilder-turned-actor was most proud of playing the Green Cross Code Man

Prowse said the role he was most proud of was that of the Green Cross Code Man - here he is pictured in the uniform in 1982

Prowse said the role he was most proud of was that of the Green Cross Code Man – here he is pictured in the uniform in 1982

How David Prowse came to be one of film’s most iconic super-villains 

Prowse acting career lasted 50 years, but it was his role as the Sith Lord in Star Wars that brought him international fame.

He was reportedly spotted by Star Wars director George Lucas when playing a bodyguard in the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, and invited to audition for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca. 

Despite being the man behind the mask, Prowse’s West Country accent was deemed not suitable for the voice of the super-villain.

His lines were dubbed over by American actor James Earl Jones.

But while the voice of Vader, mixed with his all-black suit of armour and his force powers, which played a big role in making the Sith Lord iconic, it was Prowse’s imposing 6ft 6in frame and his calm stride that really brought the character to life.

Prowse, a former bodybuilder, was best known for playing the iconic super-villain in the original three George Lucas movies.

The Bristol-born star, who towered over cast members at 6ft 6ins, had been in a London hospital for two weeks with Covid.  

His daughter Rachel Prowse posted a series of images of floral tributes, including nods to his famous roles as Luke’s father and the Green Cross Code Man.

On Monday, Ms Prowse posted on Facebook: ‘So today we said goodbye to dad. It was a very small gathering of family and close friends.

‘Covid restrictions meant there was no wake but we hope to celebrate his life later next year if and when some semblance of ‘normality’ has returned.

‘There is so much to say but the fact that we love you dad and we miss you will suffice.’

She also posted a picture of a Darth Vader helmet made from black flowers.

She wrote: ‘This was Rouse and Co’s (funeral director) own special tribute to dad. Thanks to them for the fantastic service they provided.’

Ms Prowse confirmed her father had previously been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The proud West Country actor was cast as Vader for his imposing physique, even though the role was voiced by James Earl Jones, who stands at 5ft 11ins.

Prowse’s acting career lasted 50 years, but it was his role as the Sith Lord in Star Wars that brought him international fame.

He was reportedly spotted by Star Wars director George Lucas when playing a bodyguard in the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, and invited to audition for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca. 

Despite being the man behind the mask, Prowse’s West Country accent was deemed not suitable for the voice of the super-villain.

His lines were dubbed over by American actor James Earl Jones.

Prowse's daughter posted a series of images of floral tributes - including nods to his famous roles as Luke's father and the Green Cross Code Man

Prowse’s daughter posted a series of images of floral tributes – including nods to his famous roles as Luke’s father and the Green Cross Code Man

The Bristol-born star, who towered over cast members at 6ft 6ins, had been in a London hospital for two weeks with Covid

The Bristol-born star, who towered over cast members at 6ft 6ins, had been in a London hospital for two weeks with Covid

The man behind the mask: David Prowse died at the age of 85 after a short battle with illness. Pictured: Prowse acts out the famous Vader 'force choke' from the movie

The man behind the mask: David Prowse died at the age of 85 after a short battle with illness. Pictured: Prowse acts out the famous Vader ‘force choke’ from the movie

Prowse acting career lasted 50 years, but it was his role as the Sith Lord in Star Wars that brought him international fame

Prowse acting career lasted 50 years, but it was his role as the Sith Lord in Star Wars that brought him international fame

Outside of acting, Prowse was married from 1963 to Norma Scammell and was the father of three children. Here he is pictured with Medallion co-star Anna Nicholas in 1981

Outside of acting, Prowse was married from 1963 to Norma Scammell and was the father of three children. Here he is pictured with Medallion co-star Anna Nicholas in 1981

Through his bodybuilding that Prowse (pictured aged 27) became friends with Hollywood giants Arnold Schwarzenegger and original Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno

Through his bodybuilding that Prowse (pictured aged 27) became friends with Hollywood giants Arnold Schwarzenegger and original Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno

It was through his bodybuilding that he became friends with Hollywood giants Arnold Schwarzenegger and original Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno.

Prowse represented England at the Commonwealth Games in the early 1960s.

But the bodybuilder-turned-actor was most proud of playing the Green Cross Code Man.

Appearing in television adverts to warn children children about the dangers of crossing the road. The role earned him an MBE. 

Prowse reprised his role as the Green Cross Code Man in 2014.

He was awarded an MBE for his work in road safety in 2000

Prowse reprised his role as the Green Cross Code Man in 2014 (pictured left and right). He was awarded an MBE for his work in road safety in 2000

The Green Cross Code Man: The role David Prowse was most proud of, which helped save the lives of children and earned him an MBE 

David Prowse played the Green Cross Code Man - at first prior to his role in Star Wars.

David Prowse played the Green Cross Code Man – at first prior to his role in Star Wars.

The Green Cross Code man was a series made as part of a wider campaign to raise awareness of the Green Cross Code – a brand created by the National Road Safety Committee to raise awareness of pedestrian road safety in the United Kingdom. Introduced in 1971, the code procedure was designed to enable pedestrians to cross streets safely and specifically was aimed at children.

Road safety chiefs were concerned because, at the time, children accounted for half of all casualties on the road.

The code appeared to be instantly successful, with casualties dropping by 11 per cent. But six months later they had risen to the previous rate.

The Green Cross Code Man ran as a series of television adverts between 1975 and 1990 as part of a way to advertise the campaign.

David Prowse played the Green Cross Code Man – at first prior to his role in Star Wars.  

In the adverts the character has the power to teleport from his monitoring station at ‘Green Cross Control’ to any location where children are in need of pedestrian safety instruction.

He accomplishes this by use of a wristwatch-like ‘dematerialiser’ device 

In 1975 the number of children killed on the roads had fallen to 505, the lowest since the 1950s.

By 2003 – several years after the TV advertising campaign had ended – the figure was 171 children. 

In 2014 the Green Cross Code Man series was revived, with Prowse playing the character in his 80th year, in two adverts produced for Road Safety Week in the United Kingdom.

The campaign was aimed at young adults and warning them of the danger of using their mobiles near to roads. 

Prowse was awarded an MBE for his role in the campaign. 

The group behind the campaign is now known as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

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