Darth Vader Unmasked
The character is portrayed by Sebastian Shaw and voiced by James Earl Jones. | He is unmasked in the film "Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi"
David Prowse (actor under the costume)Born:
July 1, 1935Birthplace:
Bristol, England, UKRole:
Man in the Costume When Mask is On
May 29, 1905Birthplace:
Holt, Norfolk, England, UKDeath:
December 23, 1994Role:
Face of Vader When Mask is Off
Voice of Darth Vader
Notable Quote: "Luke, I am your father." ...among many others
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James Earl JonesBorn:
January 17, 1931Birthplace:
Arkabutla, Mississippi, USARole:
The Voice Behind the Mask
Darth Vader Stuntman
Lightsaber duels in The Empire Strikes Back
and Return of the Jedi
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September 15, 1922Birthplace:
Gosport, Hampshire, EnglandDeath:
January 1, 2012, West Sussex, England
Sebastian Shaw Biography (the face of Vader):
The son of a doctor, Sebastian Shaw spent his childhood in England and made his first theatrical appearance on January 1, 1914 as one of the 'Juvenile Band' in The Cockyolly Bird. Shaw never became a huge Hollywood actor. He was primarily a stage actor, although he did star in some forty film and television productions, making his feature film debut in the movie Caste (1930). Out of Shaw's long list of acting work, he is perhaps most remembered for one of his shortest roles, that of Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi.
In 1982, director George Lucas approached veteran actor Sebastian Shaw and asked him to play the part of the unmasked Darth Vader. Although it wasn't a big part, it was one of the most crucial in the Star Wars films, not to mention one of the most memorable. The scene shows Darth Vader revealing himself to his son, Luke Skywalker. He removes his mask to reveal his pale skin and his scarred head and face.
Actor Sebastian Shaw captured on the set in the Darth Vader makeup and costume, and in real life.
Sebastian Shaw also appeared later in the Return of the Jedi
as the disembodied spirit of Anakin Skywalker (pictured below). Upon the DVD release of the Star Wars Trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI) in September of 2004, many fans were upset that the ghostly figure of Anakin was no longer Sebastian Shaw. The scene had been changed to show actor Hayden Christensen, who portrays Anakin in Episodes II and III of the prequels. Another rumored change for the DVDs was the removal of Sebastian Shaw's eyebrows to emphasize an injury that Anakin receives in 2005's Episode III.
Sebastian Shaw (left) as the disembodied spirit of Anakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi
After his appearance in Return of the Jedi
, Sebastian Shaw played primarily distinguished elderly roles, such as the art critic Mr. Sharpe in High Season
(1987). His final role in front of the camera came in 1994 in an episode of the TV series The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
. He died in December of that year at the age of 89.Darth Vader Unmasked Scene (Sebastian Shaw):
Return of the Jedi - Luke Skywalker looks down at his father Anakin (Darth Vader). His pale complexion and the robotic-like parts around the lower portion of his face reveal his altered and modified state.David Prowse Biography (man in the costume):
One of the first things that director George Lucas noticed about David Prowse was his height. The British actor / weightlifting champion stands a whopping 6 feet 7 inches tall. George Lucas gave David Prowse the choice of playing either Chewbacca or the villain Darth Vader. In reference to Vader, David told George Lucas, "That's the part for me... in my opinion, people will always remember the villain. They can never remember the goodies."
Darth Vader and the man under the costume, actor/weightlifter David Prowse.
David did not realize until the premiere of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
that his voice was not going to be heard in the actual film. George Lucas made the decision, deciding against a British accent for Darth Vader's voice, going instead with the deep vocal cords of James Earl Jones. David claims to have had more fun shooting Episodes V and VI because he did not have to worry as much about the delivery of his lines, even though he still had to say them. In an interview, David addressed this by stating, "I had to say to the captain something like, 'Asteroids do not concern me, I need that ship!' for of course I still had to speak all of Vader's dialogue so the other actors could respond to me. Only instead I said, quite sternly, 'Hemorrhoids do not concern me, I need to sh*t!'"
Surprisingly, David's most cherished role is not being the Darth Vader actor. It is his work as the Green Cross Code Man, a character used to teach UK children how to cross the road safely. The character helped to reduce the number of road deaths among children in the UK and across the globe.
Actor David Prowse as the Green Cross Man in the 1970s teaching a child how to cross the street safely.
David Prowse starred in several films and television shows, including A Clockwork Orange
(1971), the film in which George Lucas first noticed him. David is also responsible for training Christopher Reeve for his role in the first Superman
David once complained in an interview that he felt he "wasn't getting any publicity" for his work as Darth Vader, which could explain why he signs many of his autographs "David Prowse is Darth Vader." Certainly, he does deserve a great deal of credit for the role, and Star Wars fans don't let him go unremembered. At conventions, they line up with posters and helmets in hopes that they can get their picture taken with the man underneath the costume.Was anyone else in the Darth Vader costume in the original trilogy?
Yes. Stuntman/swordmaster Bob Anderson (pictured below, right) was in the Darth Vader costume during the lightsaber battles in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Anderson was an English Olympic fencer who became a highly-regarded fight choreographer. In addition to Star Wars, he worked on other well-known movies, including Highlander (1986), The Princess Bride (1987), The Mask of Zorro (1998), The Lord of the Rings, the James Bond film Die Another Day (2002), and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003).
Actor Mark Hamill (left) and Darth Vader stuntman Bob Anderson (right) rehearse during the filming of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back