Over the weekend, the news broke that David Prowse had died. He was the man we saw as Darth Vader, the tall, intimidating Sith Lord in all black. I could wax nostalgic about how much his work meant to me in my formative years, but I think it best to tell you all a little story.
Many, many years ago, David Prowse made an appearance in the small, coastal Carolina town that I called home. My parents read about the upcoming event in our local paper and, knowing how much I loved Star Wars, my mother decided to take me.
We were on the campus of our local university, a small knot of faces in a good sized crowd. He spoke, but I don’t remember what he said; I was too overwhelmed by the fact that I was looking at the real Darth Vader. For a young kid, that was pretty amazing. But things got better.
After he was done talking, he signed autographs and took pictures with the crowd. My mother was able to get his attention, get an autograph, and asked for a picture of him with me. He said yes. He then picked me up and held me in his hand. His left hand, if memory serves me correctly.
I was being held by Darth Vader. Happy? Oh, you better believe it.
My mother was terrified; she was afraid that Mr. Prowse might drop me! But that didn’t happen. Instead, I had my picture taken with Darth Vader. Awesome doesn’t begin to describe it.
It’s been well over forty years since that day. I still remember how giddy I was, looking down at my mother from the hand of Darth Vader. It’s something I will never forget.
Saying thank you doesn’t feel like enough. But it’s all I have. A meager few thoughts on something that meant so much to me when I was a child. Mr. Prowse, you touched a lot of lives. Thank you for all that you’ve done. You are missed.