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.