November 7, 2017 – Sadly, David Prowse (born 1 July 1935), has announced his immediate retirement from all further public appearances, including fan conventions, due to declining health.
In September 2017, the 82-year-old English actor – best known for physically portraying Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy – had announced on his official website that his retirement would become effective in January, 2018. But based on the recommendations of doctors, Mr. Prowse has decided to immediately withdraw from any further public appearances.
In his younger bodybuilding days, David Prowse stood a towering 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm), making him an intimidating Darth Vader. But a lifelong struggle with arthritis, hip replacement in later years, and other health issues, have resulted in diminished height and, now, his retirement.
A Farewell Gift?
At 82 years old, Mr. Prowse’s withdrawal from public life is predictable but lamentable nonetheless. It’s hard to say “Goodbye” to the core Star Wars actors whom we have known for decades. The passings of Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) just last December 2016, and Kenny Baker (R2-D2) in August 2016, are somber reminders that there is a final sunset for everyone.
Perhaps as a farewell gift, Mr. Prowse and his assistant(s) are offering a limited-time 20% discount on online orders for his autograph. At the Dave Prowse website, there are fifteen (15) 8″x10″ glossy photos to choose from.
According to the website: “Dave will personalise your photo(s) to a name for you. If requested, you may choose ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’ if you are buying for a birthday gift, and you even get to choose the ink colour Dave signs in. Star Wars movie quotes are available for an additional fee.”
In addition, shipping is FREE worldwide, offering you additional value.
The original list price was £49.99. But for a limited time, each photo is being sold for £39.99 (20% off). (The current GBP to USD conversion rate is £1.32:$1.00, so the cost for U.S. consumers is about $52.60 per photo.)
My Autograph Experience
On October 20, 2017, I ordered a single color photo (shown below) addressed to me (“Glenn”) in blue ink. Of the eight movie quotes available, I selected “The Force is with you.” I paid online with a credit card, which automatically converted my U.S. dollars to Great Britain pounds.
The eight movie quotes available include:
“May the Force be with you”
“The Force is with you”
“The Force is strong with this one”
“Give yourself to the Dark Side”
“Impressive, most impressive”
“I find your lack of faith disturbing”
“No. I am your father.”
“You don’t know the power of the Dark Side.”
If the photo is predominantly dark or black, Mr. Prowse will sign in silver ink. Otherwise, you can choose either silver, black or blue for your ink color.I immediately received an email confirmation, which advised that “typical delivery time is about 2 weeks after signing and shipping.” The email also cautioned, however, that delivery could take up to six weeks because of Mr. Prowse’ busy schedule.
On November 6th, a flat brown envelope with cardboard backing arrived in my mailbox in Orlando, Florida. In bold red letters, the envelope had a preprinted message: “Please do not bend”. The postage stamp was “£3.15” (equivalent to $4.14 USD) and was postmarked “30 Oct 2017”, but I could not read the rest of the smudged cancel-postmark.
In short, it took 17 days – from date of order through date of receipt – to receive Mr. Prowse’s autographed and personalized photo. The handwriting was clear and legible, and the photo arrived in perfect condition.
While it is all but certain that I will never have the pleasure of personally meeting Dave Prowse, I am more than happy to receive the signed memento as a farewell gift.
In early 2018, David Prowse announced that he was now fully retired and no longer signing autographs. Accordingly, his website has removed most all ordering features – including a selection of Darth Vader photos and autograph-personalization options.
What’s left is a website that looks like this:
For a limited time, you can still order some pre-signed autographs. The prices are much higher than before he retired, but that’s to be expected. In addition, each photograph comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and a matching serial numbered hologram.
Here are some sample photos showing what’s available: