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What Happened To The Cast Of Varsity Blues?

More than two decades after it arrived in theaters, Varsity Blues remains a beloved football film for a generation of viewers. But this movie about a small-town Texan football team isn't your typical inspirational sports story; instead, it focuses on the dark side of the sport, exposing what a tyrannical coach is willing to do to make sure his team wins — no matter the cost.

The movie came out at a time when two of its male leads, Paul Walker and James Van Der Beek, were just starting off in their respective careers. Both are now remembered for other roles — Walker as Brian O'Conner in the Fast and the Furious franchise and Van Der Beek as Pacey Dawson in Dawson's Creek, specifically. But they weren't the only notable celebrities who were part of the ensemble cast, and with so much talent onscreen, you can't help but wonder what happened to the various members of the Varsity Blues cast. Some went on to star in iconic films; others stepped away from the limelight. Looking back, Varsity Blues helped many then-unknown actors make their mark in Hollywood. Here's a look at where they are today.

James Van Der Beek as Johnny "Mox" Moxon

James Van Der Beek stars in Varsity Blues as Mox, who has to choose between reveling in his newfound status as his school's star quarterback or sticking to his initial plan of going to Brown University and stepping away from football. This was Van Der Beek's first big film role in the midst of his Dawson years. Dawson's Creek ran from 1998 to 2003 and though the show remains his signature, he's gone on to make appearances in a variety of places, including One Tree Hill, How I Met Your Mother, and Mercy. He played an exaggerated, meta version of himself in Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23 and was also part of Ryan Murphy's hit show Pose during its first season. He also dipped his feet in reality TV, appearing in season 28 of Dancing With the Stars and ultimately making it to the semifinals.

As far as his personal life goes, Van Der Beek was married to actress Heather McComb from 2003 until 2009, and married business consultant Kimberly Brook in 2010. The couple has five children: Olivia, Joshua, Annabel, Emilia, and Gwendolyn.

Jon Voight as Coach Bud Kilmer

Coach Kilmer is the villain of the story; he's a coach who verbally and physically abuses his players in a misguided attempt to motivate them to win. When Lance suffers an injury and no longer can be the star quarterback, he puts pressure on Mox to lead the team to victory, even threatening to take away his Brown University scholarship if he doesn't play by his rules. In the end, his actions end up costing him his 30-year career as a coach. 

Much like his daughter Angelina Jolie, Voight has had an incredibly prolific career in film. He was a Hollywood icon well before Varsity Blues; after that film, he went on to book roles in films such as Zoolander, Holes, Transformers, and National Treasure. He played Mickey Donovan in Ray Donovan up until the show's cancellation after seven seasons and portrayed real-life Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in the political biographical drama Roe v. Wade. In recent years, Voight has also made headlines for his controversial political views.

Amy Smart as Jules Harbor

Amy Smart plays Jules, Mox's supportive girlfriend who gives him a bit of tough love when the attention that comes with being the star quarterback gets to his head. She knows that Mox has bigger ambitions than football and reminds him to follow his dreams instead of trying to be the person that Coach Kilmer and his football-obsessed dad think he should be. Despite Mox not being a great boyfriend, she forgives him and stands by him. 

After Varsity Blues, Smart appeared in a spate of comedies, including Road Trip, Rat Race, and Just Friends. She had a recurring role in Scrubs as J.D.'s brief romantic interest, T.C.W. (Tasty Coma Wife), who flirts with him while her husband's in a coma. Smart also played Jasmine Hollander in Shameless, and has since gone on to star in the CW's Stargirl as Barbara, Stargirl's mom.

Smart married Trading Spaces' Carter Oosterhouse in 2011, and they have a daughter named Flora.

Scott Caan as Charlie Tweeder

Charlie's the wild one of the bunch. All he cares about is partying — and nobody can stop him from having fun. At one point he even goes as far as stealing a cop car and somehow gets away with it. He's also prone to sharing some questionable advice on how to get girls.

Varsity Blues was Scott Caan's first big movie role. Before landing this part, he was actually part of hip-hop group the Whooliganz, going by the name Mad Skillz. But the movie definitely opened doors for him in Hollywood: He went on to book roles in hit films such as Gone in 60 Seconds and Ocean's Eleven. He also wrote, starred, and produced indie film Mercy, but Entourage fans will remember him best as Scott Lavin. More recently, he starred in the modern revival of Hawaii Five-O, which was canceled in April 2020 after 10 seasons.

Eliel Swinton as Wendell Brown

Wendell is the only Black football player on the West Canaan High School varsity football team. He opens up about his experiences with racism at the hands of Coach Kilmer to Mox, saying that despite working so hard to get recognition as a running back, he's always slighted by the coach. Coach Kilmer also tries to get him to play with an injury, but Mox puts a stop to this to protect Wendell from suffering the same fate as Lance. 

Varsity Blues marked Eliel Swinton's only acting role. He was actually a professional football player and played on Stanford University's team as a running back, and then briefly joined the Kansas City Chiefs as a safety. Now retired as an athlete, he worked as a National Scouting Director for the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) and has gone on to train young athletes at the Factory Training in Sherman Oaks, California.

Ali Larter as Darcy Sears

Darcy is Lance's girlfriend but once he suffers an injury that stops him from playing football, she loses all interest in him. She decides that since Mox is now the star quarterback, she'll do anything to get her hands on him — even if it means attempting to seduce him in a whipped cream bikini. With some motivational words from Mox, she realizes that she doesn't need to date a football player to leave their small town and realize her dreams.

After Varsity Blues, Ali Larter went on to have roles in plenty of popular movies, including Final Destination, Legally Blonde, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Obsessed. She also starred in Heroes as Niki Sanders. More recently, she's been seen in a supporting role in ABC's police comedy-drama series The Rookie

Larter married fellow actor Hayes MacArthur in 2009, after the two met on the set of National Lampoon's Homo Erectus. In an interview with Cosmo, she said that she told MacArthur after three weeks of dating that she wanted to marry him. They have two children: Theodore and Vivienne. 

Thomas F. Duffy as Sam Moxon

Like his son Mox, Sam was part of the West Canaan High School varsity football team, but his dreams of becoming a star athlete didn't pan out. Instead, he invests his time in trying to get Mox to have the football career he wanted. He has a rivalry with Lance's dad, as they both want their sons to be the star quarterback on the team. 

Thomas F. Duffy is a prolific character actor who has appeared in a long list of TV shows and movies, including ER, The X-Files, Grey's AnatomyNYPD Blue, and Super 8. Arguably most notable role came in The Lost World: Jurassic Park as Dr. Robert Burke, a paleontologist who is a dinosaur expert and ends up being eaten by a T-rex. He also had a recurring role in The Middle as Jack Meenahan, the Heck family's neighbor. He seems to have taken a break from acting in recent years; as of this writing, his latest role came in the 2017 movie Just Within Reach

Joe Pichler as Kyle Moxon

Much like his older brother Mox, Kyle doesn't want to follow his dad's footsteps and become a football player. Instead, he's obsessed with religion and at one point even starts his own cult. 

Before playing Kyle, Joe Pichler appeared in a few movies, including The Fan and Music From Another Room, and made one-off appearances on TV shows like Gun and Touched By An Angel. After Varsity Blues, Pichler went on to appear in children's movies like Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season and Beethoven's 3rd. His last role was in the independent film Children on Their Birthdays, based on Truman Capote's short story of the same name, starring alongside Jesse Plemons and Twin Peaks' Sheryl Lee. 

In 2006, Pichler went missing after leaving a troubling note in his car. His disappearance prompted a rescue mission but since his body was never found, it's unclear what happened to him.

Ron Lester as Billy Bob

Billy Bob is the lovable, dim-witted member of the team who drinks pancake syrup like it's soda and loves to let loose. He has no qualms taking the stage at a strip club, dancing shirtless till he's escorted out. He was at one point beloved by Coach Kilmer, but falls victim to his verbal abuse after the coach blames him for Lance's injury. He ends up scoring the game-winning touchdown while Lance coaches from the sidelines, and realizes he never needed Coach Kilmer's approval to be a great athlete. 

Ron Lester parodied his Varsity Blues character in Not Another Teen Movie and had a role in the horror film The Greenskeeper. A year after Varsity Blues, he underwent gastric bypass surgery; in an interview with Grantland, he shared that he flatlined during the procedure. The actor ended up suffering from severe health issues, and he died in 2016 from liver and kidney failure.

Paul Walker as Lance Harbor

Lance is the star quarterback whose face is plastered all over town. He's Coach Kilmer's pride and joy. But this all changes when Lance suffers a bad knee injury that leaves him unable to play. 

Paul Walker was a child star, but Varsity Blues was instrumental in catapulting him to leading man status. Two years after playing Lance, Walker starred in The Fast and the Furious, becoming a prominent star in the franchise. He was in the midst of filming the series' seventh installment when he tragically died in a car crash in 2013 at the age of 40. His daughter, Meadow, founded the Paul Walker Foundation in 2015 with a mission to "serve as an enduring light of Paul's unique spirit, far reaching goals, and spontaneous goodwill." Walker's Fast and Furious co-star Dwayne Johnson shared touching memories of Walker on social media in 2019 to celebrate his birthday, writing, "Our friendship was bonded over our daughters, Meadow & Simone and the pride and protection we took being their fathers."