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


Ron Lester in 2000.

Eric Charbonneau/Berliner Studio, via Associated Press Images

Ron Lester, an actor, best known for his work in the movie “Varsity Blues,” who struggled with obesity throughout his life, died on Friday in Dallas. He was 45.

His death was confirmed by his agent, Dave Bradley, who said that Mr. Lester had been hospitalized for about four months and had been battling liver and kidney problems.

Mr. Lester played the oversize lineman Billy Bob in “Varsity Blues,” a 1999 movie about high school football that starred James Van Der Beek and Paul Walker. He also appeared in “Not Another Teen Movie” and “Good Burger.”

On television, he had a recurring role on the series “Popular” and was seen on “Freaks and Geeks,” “CSI: NY” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.”

Mr. Lester, who at one point weighed 508 pounds, nearly died after having gastric bypass surgery but recovered and lost more than 300 pounds. After his extreme weight loss, however, he was no longer in demand to play the “fat guy” roles for which he had been known.

“Surgery saved his life,” a 2014 profile on the website Grantland said. “It also ended his career.”

Born on Aug. 4, 1970, in Kennesaw, Ga., Mr. Lester moved to Los Angeles and was a stand-up comedian before being cast in “Good Burger.”

He is survived by his fiancée, Jennifer Worland.

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