Newswire: R.I.P. Ron Lester, star of Varsity Blues and Popular

Variety is reporting that actor Ron Lester, whose credits include the WB’s Popular and a breakout role in the 1999 football drama Varsity Blues, has died. Lester was 45.

Known for his large frame and enthusiastic, good-hearted characters, Lester got his first major acting role in 1997’s Good Burger. Two years later, he was cast in Varsity Blues as Billy Bob, the hard-partying heart of the football team coached by Jon Voight’s victory-obsessed villain. The role exposed Lester to a national audience, and for a time, he became the go-to actor for casting directors looking to cast large, funny young men. (He played bully Siedleman on Freaks & Geeks, and reprised his Billy Bob role for the parodic Not Another Teen Movie.)

1999 also saw Lester cast in The WB’s cult sitcom Popular, a.k.a. the show that introduced Glee and American Horror Story mastermind …

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