When Losing A Ton Of Weight Can Kill Your Career

Thomas Golianopoulos profiles Varsity Blues star Ron Lester, who shed 300 pounds after duodenal switch surgery:

Since he realized in the third grade that his massive girth could draw laughs, Lester knew his fate was as the funny fat guy. When he moved to Hollywood – a town where funny fat guys can become millionaires – he was an overnight success. There was one problem, though: His moneymaker was slowly killing him. With a family history of heart problems, the 500-pound Lester wasn’t long for this world. Surgery saved his life. It also ended his career.

A shrinking man with loose skin greeted casting directors expecting the funny fat guy, and Lester struggled to score roles post-op. Now living in Dallas nearly 15 years after his glory days, he is left to ponder whether choosing life was the right decision. “Am I alive? Yes. Am I happy? No. Did I throw away my career to be skinny? Yes,” he says. “I wouldn’t do [the surgery] again. I would much rather have died happy, rich, and kept my status and gone out on top.”

See recent photos of Lester here. Our reader thread on serious weight loss is here.