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Mark Hamill has paid tribute to Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse, after he died over the weekend.
Hamill played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movie franchise and was Prowse's on-screen son and arch nemesis in the three films, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jed
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
"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."
Prowse's agent confirmed the actor died at the age of 85 after a short illness.
Thomas Bowington told the BBC: "May the force be with him, always! Though famous for playing many monsters - for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives."
He said the actor's passing was 'a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world'.
Prowse was also known for playing the Green Cross Code man, a superhero-like figure who featured in road safety campaigns from 1975 to 1990. He received an MBE in 2000 for services to charity and road safety.
Prior to being an actor, Prowse was a weightlifter, representing England at the commonwealth games in 1962.
Aside from Star Wars, he appeared in A Clockwork Orange, Doctor Who and The Tomorrow People, as well as three performances as Frankenstein's monster.
Prowse was originally offered either the role of Chewbacca or Vader by George Lucas. Speaking at the Awesome Con convention in 2016, he said: "Lucas said to me, 'You've got a choice of two characters in the movie'.
"So I said, 'What are they?' He said, 'There's a character called Chewbacca, which is like a huge teddy bear, or alternatively, there's the main villain in the piece.'
"I said to him, 'Well, there's no choice, is there? Thank you very much, I'll have the villain's piece'."
He was originally meant to voice the character of Darth Vader as well as being the man in the helmet, but his strong West Country accent was deemed unsuitable for the sci-fi villain.
Tributes to the actor have been pouring in. One fan wrote on Twitter: "I met #DaveProwse when he was the green cross code man. He was an absolute diamond. The Force was strong within him for sure - I hope he gets to the other side safely x RIP."
Another said: "Rest up, Mister Dave Prowse - he who taught me the Green Cross Code... and to never underestimate the power of the Dark Side."
Actor Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, wrote: "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!"
Rest in peace, Dave.
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