'Varsity Blues' Actor Ron Lester Has Died, But His Iconic Role As Billy Bob Will Be Forever Iconic
Sad news on Saturday — Ron Lester, who famously played Billy Bob in the James Van Der Beek classic Varsity Blues, has passed away. Lester's longtime manager Dave Bradley posted a somber Facebook update about the actor's death, saying, "We lost my good friend and actor Ron Lester... He was not in any pain and passed away peacefully." According to Deadline Hollywood, Lester had been reportedly "battling liver and kidney ailments" for some time, and reports suggest that the star had been moved to hospice care shortly before he died. Varsity Blues was released in 1999, and is still considered an iconic '90s movie today — which is why confirmation that Ron Lester had died at the age of 45 is incredibly sad news.
Speaking to Grantland in April 2014, Lester said of his most famous movie role, "It was a family, and it was kind of like a drug. Every project, every TV show, every movie I’ve done, I keep hoping to relive the camaraderie we had on Varsity Blues .” Lester's clearly had a lot of respect for his Varsity Blues's co-stars, and was proud of the movie he'd help to make. The actor also featured in memorable movies like Good Burger and Not Another Teen Movie, and was even in an episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. But it's Lester's role in Varsity Blues that he'll most likely be remembered for, because he got to showcase his acting and athletic talents.
One of the reasons that Lester's role in Varsity Blues was so iconic is because his character, Billy Bob, scored an unlikely and incredibly impressive touchdown. His defense skills were on fleek, which made Billy Bob pivotal to the team, and leading him to score the winning touchdown at the end of the game. Despite a multitude of opposing players trying to tackle Billy Bob to the ground, he persevered and didn't let anyone stop him, which truly made him the hero of the story.
With roles in classic shows including Freaks And Geeks and Popular, Lester's work will continue to be enjoyed by fans everywhere, despite his untimely passing. He will be missed.