Speight in 2016
August 28, 1963|
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
|Alma mater||Morgan State University|
|Occupation||Football player, wrestler, actor|
Terry Tate: Office Linebacker|
Gears of War
|Ring name(s)||Rasta the Voodoo Man|
|Billed height||6 ft 6 in (198 cm)|
|Billed weight||260 lb (118 kg) |
|Debut||June 28, 1991|
|Retired||April 18, 1998|
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.
Football and professional wrestling career
Speight was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Gussie Watson and Walter Speight. He graduated from Old Mill High School in Millersville in 1981, where he is in the Hall of Fame for starring in three sports: football, track, and basketball. He attended Morgan State University from 1981 to 1985, and was a Division 1 All American Linebacker. After graduating in 1985, he tried unsuccessfully to play in the NFL. Not one to give up easily, he tried out for the United States Football League the same year. During tryouts, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, which got the attention of the Baltimore Stars. 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. He never made it into the NFL.
Speight moved on to professional wrestling working for Global Wrestling Federation and Catch Wrestling Association as "Rasta the Voodoo Man". It was not long, however, before he quit wrestling in 1997, to pursue an acting career.
From there he went on to appear in other minor roles in many films including Any Given Sunday, 13 Moons and as the club doorman, in Cradle 2 the Grave. Speight has also appeared in many television shows such as Malcolm in the Middle, Walker Texas Ranger, NYPD Blue, Arli$$, Prison Break and My Wife and Kids.
In 2003, Speight appeared in a Reebok commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. The role was based on a character that Speight had played in a short independent film in 2000. In the commercial, Speight plays Terry Tate, an office linebacker charged with the enforcement of office policies. For example, when one employee finishes the office's coffee and fails to begin brewing more, he is quickly tackled by Tate, who stands over the man, screaming "You kill the joe, you make some mo'!" Within the commercials, Speight promotes recycling, dutiful work, and several other courteous actions. The commercials received critical acclaim, and according to The Hollywood Reporter was the most watched part of the Super Bowl by TiVo viewers. The Office Linebacker spots returned in 2008 and later in 2016 as part of a campaign in support of voting. In 2008 they featured several notable shorts of Terry Tate tackling a blind-sided Sarah Palin who had previously struggled in responding to questions posed by journalists including interviews by Katie Couric leading up to the 2008 Presidential election. Tate emphasized the importance of reading and providing lucid responses during media interviews. Returning again in 2016 under the moniker, "TERRY TATE MAKES AMERICA GREAT", the new target of the Terry Tate etiquette campaign became the then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after controversial video surfaced of Trump making disparaging statements about women.
Speight also had a recurring role on Damon Wayan's ABC series My Wife and Kids as Calvin Scott, the father of Vanessa Scott. 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 in 2008, Gears of War 3 in 2011 and Gears of War: Judgment in 2013
Speight guest-starred as prison inmate Banks on the show Prison Break. Speight also had a role in the 2007 Eddie Murphy motion picture Norbit as Blue, one of the three brothers of Rasputia. He also appeared in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, as a character who is interrogated using racist methods. He then had a small role in the film Bachelor Party Vegas, as Gold Tooth, a prison rapist.
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' strong man "Magnum".
- 1993: The Meteor Man - Gang Member #1
- 1999: Any Given Sunday - Sharks' Security Guard
- 2002: 13 Moons - Vincent
- 2003: Cradle 2 the Grave - Chambers Club Doorman
- 2006: Bachelor Party Vegas - Gold Tooth
- 2007: Norbit - Blue Latimore
- 2007: Who's Your Caddy - Hardcore Inmate
- 2008: Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - Dr. Jonavan White
- 2008: Finding Amanda - Black guy #1
- 2008: Ring of Death - The President
- 2008: Unemployed - Jacker #1
- 2010: Something like a Business - Rockstone
- 2010: Knucklehead - Redrum
- 2010: Faster - Hovis Nixon/Baphomet
- 2011: Peep World - Wizdom
- 2011: Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Hardcore Eddy
- 2014: Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King - Herman
- 2014: My Dad's a Soccer Mom
- 2017: Speech & Debate
- 2000: Walker Texas Ranger - Flash Armstrong (Episode: The Avenging Angel)
- 2003-2005: My Wife and Kids - Calvin Scott
- 2003: NYPD Blue - Steve (Episode: Cops and Robbers)
- 2003: Malcolm in the Middle - Samuel (Episode: Long Drive)
- 2007: Prison Break - Inmate (Episode: John Doe)
- 2009: Bones - Magnum (Episode: Double Trouble in the Panhandle)
- 2009: Cold Case - Virgil 'Sticky' Jones (Episode: Read Between the Lines)
- 2015: Scorpion - Ten-Ton (Episode: Fish Filet)
- 2016: In the Cut - Gordon (Episode: Jailbreak)
- 2017: NCIS: Los Angeles - Max 'Champ' Champion (Episode: Queen Pin)
- 2017: The Mick - Dominic (Episode: The Visit)
- 2006: Gears of War - Augustus Cole
- 2008: Gears of War 2 - Augustus Cole
- 2011: Gears of War 3 - Augustus Cole
- 2013: Gears of War: Judgment - Augustus Cole
- 2016: Gears of War 4 - Augustus Cole
- Kimberly-Clark Healthy Workplace project (2012) - Eugene Hammer
- "Bring It On" music video by Kasland - Augustus "Cole Train" Cole
- "Rasta the Voodoo Man". WrestlingData.com. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- 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.
- Sragow, Michael (1 July 2011). "Baltimore's Lester Speight defends the human race in 'Transformers 3'". Newsle. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- Wallace, William N. (1 June 1986). "U.S.F.L. Tryouts Stir Dreams". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
- "The Return of Terry Tate video site". Archived from the original on 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- "Official - Terry Tate Makes America Great". YouTube. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- "My Dad's a Soccer Mom". Netflix. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- "Gears of War: Judgment Credits". Microsoft Game Studios. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
- "Eugene". The Healthy Workplace Project. Kimberly-Clark Professional. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
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