Lester Speight

Lester Speight (born August 28, 1963), also known as Rasta, is a former American football player who has had subsequent careers as a professional wrestler and then actor. He achieved significant recognition for his portrayal of Terry Tate: Office Linebacker in a series of Reebok commercials that debuted during Super Bowl XXXVII, and received further recognition for his portrayal of Augustus Cole in the Gears of War series of video games.

Lester Speight
Lester Speight 2016.png
Speight in 2016
Born (1963-08-28) August 28, 1963 (age 58)
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Alma materMorgan State University
OccupationFootball player, wrestler, actor
Years active1991–1998 (wrestling)
1997–present (acting)
Known forTerry Tate: Office Linebacker
Gears of War
Lester Speight
Professional wrestling career
DebutJune 28, 1991
RetiredApril 18, 1998

Early life, family and educationEdit

Lester Speight was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Gussie Watson and Walter Speight. He graduated from Old Mill High School in Millersville, Maryland in 1981,[1] where he is in its Hall of Fame for three sports: football, track, and basketball.[2]

He attended Morgan State University from 1981 to 1985 and was a Division 1 All-American Linebacker.

Professional football and professional wrestlingEdit

After graduating college in 1985, he attempted to play in the NFL but did not. He tried out for the United States Football League (USFL) the same year. During tryouts, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, which received attention of the Baltimore Stars.[3] Speight and business manager/cousin Butch Groover negotiated a two-year deal with the Stars for more than $200,000. However, the USFL folded before he even played one season.[1]

Speight moved on to professional wrestling working for Global Wrestling Federation and Catch Wrestling Association as Rasta the Voodoo Man. However, by 1997 he quit wrestling to pursue an acting career.

Acting careerEdit

 
Lester Speight appears at Comic Con International 2010 in support of the Gears of War 3 video game.

Speight began his acting career in minor roles in many films including the football film Any Given Sunday, 13 Moons and as the club doorman in Cradle 2 the Grave. He has also appeared in many television shows such as Malcolm in the Middle, Walker Texas Ranger, NYPD Blue, Arli$$, My Wife and Kids, and NCIS Los Angeles.

CommercialsEdit

In 2003, Speight starred in the Terry Tate: Office Linebacker ad for Reebok that became an immediate pop-culture phenomenon and is considered among the funniest[4] and most memorable[5] Super Bowl commercials of all time. The exposure from the popular spot opened the door to further opportunities in film, television and video games.[6]

TelevisionEdit

Following the success of Terry Tate, Speight had a recurring role on Damon Wayans' ABC series My Wife and Kids as Calvin Scott, the father of Vanessa Scott. Speight guest-starred as prison inmate Banks on the show Prison Break. Speight appeared in an episode of ESPN's Mayne Street comedy short. In the 2008 TV film Ring of Death, Speight played convict "Milton Kennedy", a feared and revered gang boss (nicknamed "The President"), and undefeated champion of an underground fighting tournament in a notorious prison. In 2009, Speight appeared in an episode of Bones, "Double Trouble in the Panhandle", where he played the Traveling Circus' strongman, Magnum.

FilmEdit

Speight had a small role in the film Bachelor Party Vegas, as Gold Tooth, a prison rapist in 2006, before joining the Eddie Murphy motion picture Norbit as Blue, one of the three brothers of Rasputia, in 2007. The next year, he appeared in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, as a character who is interrogated using racist methods. In 2011, Speight played "Hardcore" Eddie in the Michael Bay blockbuster Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Video gamesEdit

For the 2006 Xbox 360 game Gears of War, Speight voiced the role of former "Thrashball" player Augustus Cole (a.k.a. Cole Train), humorously re-using some of his characteristic lines. He won the G-Phoria '07 award for Best Voiceover. Speight later reprised the role for Gears of War 2 (2008), Gears of War 3 (2011), Gears of War: Judgment (2013), Gears of War 4 (2016),[7] Gears 5 (2019), and Gears Tactics (2020).

FilmographyEdit

FilmsEdit

TV SeriesEdit

Video gamesEdit

OtherEdit

  • Kimberly-Clark Healthy Workplace project (2012) - Eugene Hammer[10]
  • "Bring It On" music video by Kasland - Augustus "Cole Train" Cole

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Burris, Joe (19 February 2007). "Mighty Busy Baltimore native Lester 'Mighty Rasta' Speight tackles many acting opportunities, including his latest role in 'Norbit'". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  2. ^ Sragow, Michael (1 July 2011). "Baltimore's Lester Speight defends the human race in 'Transformers 3'". Newsle.com. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  3. ^ Wallace, William N. (1 June 1986). "U.S.F.L. Tryouts Stir Dreams". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  4. ^ Hafner, Josh. "The funniest Super Bowl ads of all time: Betty White, Terry Tate and avocados". USA Today. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  5. ^ Bentley, Coleman (January 23, 2020). "The best Super Bowl commercial every year since 2000". Golf Digest. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  6. ^ Samuel, Anslem. "Lester Speight Talks His Way to Success in Gaming World & Hollywood". Black Enterprise. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Cole Train Actor Says He'll Reprise His Role in Next Gears of War". Gamespot. July 7, 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  8. ^ "My Dad's a Soccer Mom". Netflix. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Gears of War: Judgment Credits". Microsoft Game Studios. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  10. ^ "Eugene". The Healthy Workplace Project. Kimberly-Clark Professional. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2018.

External linksEdit