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Former Auburn football player suited up for Bama in Busey’s ‘Bear’ biopic

I ain’t ever been nothin’ but a horrible movie.

Consider yourself lucky if you didn’t know this, but back in 1984 a biopic on Paul “Bear” Bryant was released starring pre-crazy-inducing motorcycle wreck Gary Busey. It was simply called The Bear, it was written by the man who helped gift the world Jaws 3-D, and it apparently required an Auburn man in order to achieve anything close to gridiron realism.

Chet Chessher, a former defensive lineman for the Tigers (1977-80) who graduated from Auburn in 1982 with a minor in theater, auditioned for the part of Joe Namath and was actually called back for a second reading. He didn’t get to play Broadway Joe (too much class and too little drinking, we presume), but he did get the one-line, two-word role of farm boy Timothy Gallagher, supposedly one of the first players Bryant recruited as an assistant coach. When Busey asks him if he’ll play for Alabama, he replies: “Yes, sir.” It’s sickening.

But when The Plainsman interviewed him for a story on the movie in December 1984, Chessher insisted his loyalty remained firm.

“I’m not a traitor. I’m a War Eagle all the way,” he said. “I said ‘War Eagle’ on the set and then had to explain to the set and to some of the wardrobe people from New York what I was talking about.”

We can’t find much information on Chet. The Plainsman said he also appeared in 1984’s Tank, which might help explain that Auburn plaque in C. Thomas Howell’s room. But IMDB doesn’t list him in that movie’s credits, nor Pia Zadora’s Voyage of the Rock Aliens, which was supposed to be his next project.

As of the mid-’80s, he was in Atlanta pursuing a career in modeling and acting, but if he is the “Chet Chesser” included on this Niceville (Fla.) High School Class of ’77 tribute page, than he’s no longer with us. War Eagle forever, either way.

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