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Dave Prowse: The Bristol boy who went from Southmead to Star Wars

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image captionDave Prowse never forgot his roots in Southmead in Bristol

Fond tributes have been paid to Darth Vader actor David Prowse, who died on Saturday, in the city where he grew up.

His words in the Star Wars films may have been dubbed because of his accent, but he remained a proud Bristolian.

Thomas Bowington, Prowse's agent, said his death was a loss "for us and millions of fans all over the world".

Nowhere was that loss felt keener than in his home city and on the Southmead estate where he grew up.

Prowse, who passed away after what Mr Bowington described as a short illness, was born into a working-class family in 1935.

And while world-famous stars like Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker alongside him in the first Star Wars trilogy, have paid tribute to him, so have the people who knew him as a young man.

Bristol's current mayor Marvin Rees said the city was "sad to lose" Prowse, who he described as "A Bristol man" and "part of our 70s and 80s childhoods."

image captionDave Prowse pictured in 2007

Humble roots

The road to becoming a bodybuilder who would not only fill the huge costume of Darth Vader but also train Christopher Reeve to play Superman began in a home in Southmead.

It was in the utility room at the family home on Ambleside Road that Prowse would lift weights, surrounded by posters of bodybuilders he had put on the walls.

Tony Burgoyne, 82, who used to work out with Prowse, said that while he became known as an imposing figure, it was a childhood impairment that set him on the path to his acting roles.

"When he was a youngster he said he was the original seven-stone weakling because he had polio in his knees.

"He wanted to build his strength up therefore he started bodybuilding and I joined in at the club.

"From there, one thing led to another."

image captionDave Prowse grew up on Ambleside Road on Bristol's Southmead estate
image captionTony Burgoyne knew Dave Prowse as a young man

Former neighbour Brenda Drake said: "It proves that it doesn't matter where you come from, if you've got a goal you can achieve it and he did.

"Who would think I would live opposite Darth Vader!"

Bristol's first elected mayor George Ferguson Tweeted that Mr Prowse was "A gentle giant. He reached great heights but never forgot his Bristol roots."

image copyrightHenleaze Swimming Club
image captionDave Prowse was a club member at Henleaze Swimming Lake
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Related Topics

  • Star Wars

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