Ron Lester (1970 - 2016)

Ron Lester, the actor known best for the film “Varsity Blues,” died June 17, 2016, of organ failure, according to multiple news sources. He was 45.

He had been hospitalized in Dallas since February with liver and kidney issues. His agent, Dave Bradley, told The Associated Press that Lester had been removed from a ventilator Friday and died the following day.

Lester was known best for his supporting roles in films like “Varsity Blues” (1999), a comedy-drama about Texas high school football players. He played Billy Bob, an overweight offensive lineman who plays through concussion symptoms to please his overbearing coach, played by Jon Voight. He played a similar character in the parody film “Not Another Teen Movie” (2001).

On television, he played wannabe gangster Sugar Daddy Bernardino on the WB teen comedy-drama “Popular” from 1999 to 2001. The show gained a cult following for its offbeat humor and paved the way for later series like “Glee.” He was also cast as Seidleman, a small recurring role on another influential TV series, “Freaks and Geeks” (1999 – 2000).

 


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Obese from a young age, in 2001 he underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost 348 pounds. During the surgery, he flatlined on the operating table, but he pulled through. However, another daunting challenge awaited him after recovery.

As a result of the weight loss, he was almost unrecognizable and was no longer offered the same kinds of roles he had played in the past.

“The difference is that I am no longer the ‘FUNNY FAT GUY!’ I am just like anybody else,” he told Bodybuilding.com, “I sold my ‘niche’ for my chance to live and even though it’s harder to start over, even with a resume like mine, I have earned the right to be able to do so!”

Although determined to resume his career, he stopped acting for several years to care for his ailing mother, who eventually died of ovarian cancer. During her illness and after her death, he was active in supporting ovarian cancer charities.

Lester is survived by his fiancée, Jennifer Worland.

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