Renowned Movie and TV Star, Leslie Jordan Passes Away at 67
Actor Leslie Jordan, known for his wry Southern drawl and flexibility that made him a star in both comedic and dramatic roles on shows like “Will & Grace” and “American Horror Story,” has passed away. He won an Emmy for his videos that went viral during the pandemic and made him a household name, but he passed away at the age of 67.
“The world is definitely a much darker place today without the love and light of Leslie Jordan. Not only was he a mega talent and joy to work with, but he provided an emotional sanctuary to the nation at one of its most difficult times,” a representative for Jordan said in a statement Monday.
Leslie Jordan Starred In Various Movies
The Chattanooga, Tennessee native also played on the sitcom The Cool Kids and had a recurring role on the Mayim Bialik comedy ‘Call Me Kat,’ for which he earned an outstanding guest actor Emmy in 2005. Besides “Hearts Afire,” “Boston Legal,” “Fantasy Island,” and “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” Jordan has worked on a wide range of projects. In the ‘American Horror Story’ franchise, he appeared in multiple roles.
After Jordan’s passing, production on Fox’s ‘Call Me Kat’ was put on hold. By that point, he had finished shooting nine episodes. TMZ and the Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, reported on Monday that he had died in a single-car accident in the Hollywood region. Actors from “Will & Grace” were saddened by the news of his death.
“My heart is broken,” Sean Hayes tweeted. “Everyone who ever met him loved him. There will never be anyone like him. A unique talent with an enormous, caring heart. You will be missed, my dear friend.”
Jordan has “charmed viewers for decades with compassionate characters on-screen and impassioned LGBTQ advocacy off-screen,” said the CEO of GLAAD, a media advocacy group for the LGBTQ community. According to Sarah Kate Ellis, president, and chief executive officer of GLAAD, Jordan was “committed to helping to enhance LGBTQ visibility in his native South,” and last year he served as grand marshal of the Nashville AIDS Walk.
In 2021, Jordan, a lifelong resident of the Los Angeles area, gained an unexpected new fanbase when he stayed with relatives in his hometown during the pandemic lockdown. With his regular Instagram video uploads, he shattered the monotony of the platform.
Jordan would often begin his videos with the question, “How ya’ll doin?” and other times he would tell stories about his life in Hollywood or about his upbringing with his twin sister and their “mother.” On other occasions, he engaged in comedic pranks, such as finishing an indoor obstacle course.
“Someone called from California and said, ‘Oh, honey, you’ve gone viral.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I don’t have COVID. I’m just in Tennessee,” said Jordan.
Celebrities like Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Alba, and Anderson Cooper, as well as brands like Reebok and Lululemon, would post comments. Since nothing else seemed to be happening, he began to worry excessively about his popularity and the amount of attention he received. His Instagram account had 5.8 million followers at the time of his death, and his TikTok account had 2.3 million.
Philadelphia magazine questioned Jordan in 2014 if he could relate to his character in the film “Southern Baptist Sissies,” which premiered in 2013, and is about a gay man’s upbringing in a fundamentalist Baptist community.
“I really wanted to be a really good Christian, like some of the boys in the movie. I was baptized 14 times,” Jordan said. “Every time the preacher would say, ‘Come forward, sinners!’ I’d say ‘Oooh, I was out in the woods with that boy, I better go forward.’ My mother thought I was being dramatic. She’d say, ‘Leslie, you’re already saved,’ and I’d say, ‘Well, I don’t think it took.”
Devastated to find out that Leslie Jordan has passed. He was such a queer icon to me. My first exposure to him was in one of my favorite movies Sordid Lives! I literally just saw him a few weeks ago in LA. 😢 my thoughts are with the people he was close to! 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Rv1nhXtLDR
— Trinity The Tuck 🏳️⚧️ (@TrinityTheTuck) October 24, 2022
In 2007, Jordan talked about how his life and the lesson he learned through his position as an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor in the CW adolescent drama “Hidden Palms.”
“If there is anything that kids could walk away with it is that people who use drugs and alcohol are masking something,” Jordan told the AP. “With me, it was my homosexuality. It was just easier to be gay when I was high. So I stayed high for 33 years. … I don’t know when it went from recreational to medicinal, but that’s the line you cross where I needed a drink to get to a party, to be funny, to be me.”
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