Darth Vader

Fictional Villain

Born: 1977
Best known as: Black-masked villain from Star Wars

The smashing success of the 1977 film Star Wars made Darth Vader the biggest movie villain since Dracula. Vader's signature black helmet, echo-box breathing and portent-of-doom musical theme all became pop culture favorites. According to the Star Wars storyline, Vader began life as Anakin Skywalker and was trained by the Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi before being seduced by the "dark side" of the mystical Force. He became a servant of the nefarious Emperor Palpatine and used the powers of the Force for evil. The original Star Wars trilogy tells of Vader's battle against his son Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill) and the Rebel Alliance led by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). That original Vader was played on screen by actor David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones. In three later prequels the young Anakin Skywalker was played by actors Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen.

Extra credit:

The Darth Vader music cues were by composer John Williams, who also wrote a famous theme for the shark in Jaws (1975)… Obi-Wan Kenobi was played by Alec Guinness in the first three Star Wars films, and by Ewan McGregor in later sequels… Strange but true: a carving of Darth Vader was placed on the northwest tower of Washington National Cathedral. It was placed there as the result of a design competition among children to design decorative sculptures for the Cathedral.

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