You may not know it, but you’ve seen this guy everywhere. From movie theaters to the small screen, he is one of the most important science fiction/fantasy actors of the last forty years. Yet, no one seems to know who he is.
Prowse is one of three actors who brought Darth Vader to life, the other two being of course James Earl Jones (voice) and Sebastian Shaw (unmasked Vader). He was also a bodybuilder and has trained actors Christopher Reeve (Superman) and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride).
Prowse first suffered symptoms from arthritis at age 13, but they seemingly disappeared while he was bodybuilding. As of 1990, the symptoms returned. By 2001, both his left and right arms became paralyzed and he was diagnosed with septic arthritis. He blames this on a prescription he was given for NSAIDs that he ended up being allergic to. The reaction he had to this medication nearly killed him. He has lost four inches in height because of his arthritis and surgeries resulting from it. Both of his hips have been replaced – and worked on several more times – and one of his ankles is fused.
As if his life wasn’t hard enough, Prowse was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March of 2009. As of right now, he seems to be in remission. He works with many arthritis-related organizations and is the vice president of the Physically Handicapped and Able-bodied Association.
For more on David Prowse, see his website.