Ron Lester, ‘Varsity Blues’ Actor, Dies at 45

Ron Lester
Peter Brooker/REX/Shutterstock

Ron Lester, the “Varsity Blues” actor who struggled with obesity throughout his life, died Friday in Dallas of organ failure. He was 45. The Georgia-born actor had been hospitalized for about four months and had been battling liver and kidney problems.

His agent Dave Bradley posted on Facebook that he was not in pain and that his fiancee was with him.

Lester played Billy Bob in the 1999 football movie “Varsity Blues,” which also starred Paul Walker and James Van Der Beek, and also appeared in “Not Another Teen Movie” and “Good Burger.”

On TV, he had a recurring role on the series “Popular” and played Seidleman on “Freaks and Geeks.” He also guested on “CSI: NY” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.”

Tipping the scales at 508 pounds, Lester nearly died after having gastric bypass surgery but recovered and lost more than 300 pounds. However, he was not in demand to play the “fat guy” roles after his extreme weight loss. “Surgery saved his life. It also ended his career,” wrote the Grantland website in a 2014 profile.

Raised in Kennesaw, Georgia, his first role was on a commercial for Formula 409. He moved to Los Angeles and worked on a stand-up comedy routine before getting a role in “Good Burger.”

He is survived by his fiancce, Jennifer Worland.

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  1. Ronnie's pal says:

    A lovely kind man. So young. He’s w/ Jesus now. He loved God. 45? Sooo sad. Also, love the lead singer of the GREAT PM Dawn band that also passed too young recently. Life is short everybody. Enjoy yourself it’s later than you think.

  2. tracyjl says:

    He was a series regular on both seasons of Popular, hope you guys change this on here. He was a lovely man and was very proud of that show

  3. Mike says:

    Ron played the doctor in The Fat boy Chronicles. He told the main character to lose weight since no one told him when he was young

  4. RK P says:

    You’re an editor? What a terrible way to write an article. I don’t even know who this guy is because I didn’t watch the show he was in, but you’re just an ass. RIP guy.

  5. Dunstan says:

    This is a horrifying story, more so because of the Grantland comment about him losing his career after his weight loss.

    My thoughts go out to his fiancee and family.

  6. bryan jeffery bond says:

    Rest in peace Lester u were a true talent

  7. Lester had a duodenal switch, which is DIFFERENT than a gastric bypass. If y’all cant get it right, just say weight loss surgery.

  8. Sad news. However, I have one question – who or what is “Grantland” referred to in a quote at the end of the article since the name is mentioned nowhere else and the hyperlink is non-existent.

    • Dunstan says:

      Edward, Grantland is a sports and popular culture website. I believe it was started by former ESPN personality Bill Simmons.

  9. Matthew says:

    so sorry to hear….he was a great actor, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family….I loved him in Not another Teen Movie…..I will watch it again in his honor. RIP…..too soon, and very sad to hear this.

  10. Michelle Stutzman says:

    so sad he was a good actor

  11. demoncat4 says:

    so sad he was such a talent. sympathy to his friends and family for their loss. no doubt now he is making god smile

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