Skip to main content

Darth Vader star on cancer

By Helen Briggs
Health reporter, BBC News

"Men must not be embarrassed about going to the doctor"

As the costumed superhero known as the Green Cross Man, he told the children of the 70s to Stop, Look and Listen.

Now, the British actor best known as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films has become the unlikely hero of a very different campaign.

Diagnosed with prostate cancer at the start of the year, Dave Prowse MBE has found himself raising awareness of men's health.

"There's this terrible embarrassment," says the former bodybuilder and weightlifter.

Darth Vader's been very very good to me

"You've got to get over to men that there is no embarrassment in going to the doctor and letting the doctor probe around and having a look to see how you are.

"It doesn't worry me in the slightest and it shouldn't worry any man."

The 72-year-old, who is married with three children, only discovered he had prostate cancer through his charity work. At a golf tournament in aid of the Prostate Cancer Charity, he was asked to present the cheque to a representative.

She happened to ask if he had had a PSA test, which is recommended in all men over 50.

READ MORE about prostate cancer

"The lady said: 'Thank you very much, and by the way, have you ever been tested for prostate cancer yourself?'" he recalls.

"I said: 'No, I'm perfectly all right thank you very much, and I'm not having any problems on that side of things.'"

Green Cross Code Man (Image courtesy of Department for Transport)
As the Green Cross man in the 1970s

But the conversation lingered in his mind, and when he visited his GP a few months later for an unrelated matter, he asked for the blood test.

A biopsy revealed suspicious signs, and he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was treated with radiotherapy and medication, and says the only after-effect was an occasional "hot flush".

Because the disease was caught early, the future now looks good.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in the UK, accounting for almost a quarter of male cancers

Each year, nearly 35,000 men are diagnosed and more than 10,000 die from the disease

Most men with early prostate cancer are diagnosed because they have problems with bladder habits

"As far as I'm concerned, I've been given the all clear," he explains. "We had a letter from the surgeon saying as far as the future was concerned the prognosis was excellent. That basically is it."

He is now keen to carry on travelling the world to appear at Star Wars conventions.

"Darth Vader's obviously been very very good to me," he says. "I did the first three movies - Star Wars, Empire (Strikes Back) and (Return of the) Jedi, which took me from '76 to '82.

"But the interesting thing of course is that since Star Wars came out, a whole culture has expanded worldwide in what I call the fandom business.

"And wherever you go, people turn up literally in their thousands."


Popular posts from this blog

Star Wars VII Movie Poster - Every End Is A New Beginning

Just saw this Star Wars VII movie poster on Kyle Newman's Facebook feed.  The poster is by Lyndon Berresford and Paul Bateman. 
I am loving this.  Who do you think the two characters are?  Lando and Leia?  Han and Leia's children?

Have you seen other Star Wars VII movie posters?  Let me know.

Rob Wainfur

I need your Star Wars memories for a book

Did Paul Freeman Accidentally Eat A Fly In Raiders of the Lost Ark?

The Famous Indiana Jones Fly In Belloq's Mouth Scene.  Did It Really Happen? I've always wondered if Paul Freeman unintentionally consumed a fly in this scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark?  It's the scene where Indiana Jones shouts down to Bellosh...I mean Belloq and threatens to blow up the ark.  Did a fly go in his mouth?

I remember watching this scene back in the early eighties and my ten year old mind thought he definitely had a snack while filming.  I recall talking about 'flygate' in my school playground at the time and the general consensus with my friends was that Freeman definitely had a sneaky snack.

Paul Freeman talks about the famous 'fly' scene in an interview with and settled 'flygate:'

This is a bit of a dicey question so don’t get too upset. (Laughs) A movie’s always got bloopers in it, some have a lot, and some only have three or four. And the most remarkable blooper was right before the opening of the Ark scene.…

Pinewood Studios To Expand To The Usa

BBC News have reported that Pinewood Studios are to expand to the USA.  This is great news for the famous studio that is rich in movie history.

UK film studio Pinewood Shepperton has announced plans to build its first sound stages in the United States. The Pinewood Atlanta complex will be built on 288 acres of land south of Atlanta, Georgia, as a joint venture with a US investment company. Georgia has been among the US states drawing film-making away from Hollywood with tax incentives in recent years. The deal is the latest sign of expansion at Pinewood, the home of the James Bond franchise. Earlier this month it announced a joint venture with a Chinese media group, potentially giving it access to the fast-growing Chinese market.
Read the full article here.