Leslie Jordan, Versatile Emmy-winning Actor, Dies at 67


LOS ANGELES — Leslie Jordan, the actor whose wry Southern drawl and flexibility made him a comedy and drama standout on TV sequence together with “Will & Grace” and “American Horror Story,” has died. The Emmy-winner, whose movies turned him right into a social media star in the course of the pandemic, was 67.

“The world is certainly a a lot darker place as we speak with out the love and lightweight of Leslie Jordan. Not solely was he a mega expertise and pleasure to work with, however he supplied an emotional sanctuary to the nation at considered one of its most tough occasions,” a consultant for Jordan mentioned in a press release Monday.

The native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, who gained an impressive visitor actor Emmy in 2005 for his half as Beverly Leslie in “Will & Grace,” had a recurring function on the Mayim Bialik comedy “Name Me Kat” and starred on the sitcom “The Cool Children.”

Jordan’s different eclectic credit embrace “Hearts Afire,” “Boston Authorized,” “Fantasy Island” and “America vs. Billie Vacation.” He performed varied roles on the “American Horror Story” sequence.

Manufacturing on Fox’s “Name Me Kat” was suspended following Jordan’s dying. He had accomplished work on 9 episodes.

He died Monday in a single automotive crash within the Hollywood space, in accordance with studies by superstar web site TMZ and the Los Angeles Instances, citing unidentified regulation enforcement sources.

Stars of “Will & Grace” mourned his loss.

“My coronary heart is damaged,” Sean Hayes tweeted. “Everybody who ever met him, beloved him. There’ll by no means be anybody like him. A singular expertise with an unlimited, caring coronary heart. You can be missed, my pricey buddy.”

“Crushed to be taught concerning the lack of @thelesliejordan, the funniest & flirtiest southern gent I’ve ever recognized,” tweeted Eric McCormack. “The enjoyment and laughter he introduced to each considered one of his #WillandGrace episodes was palpable.”

The chief govt of GLAAD, the LGBTQ media advocacy group, lauded Jordan as a proficient entertainer who “charmed audiences for many years with heartfelt characters on-screen and passionate LGBTQ advocacy off-screen.”

Jordan was intent on serving to to extend LGBTQ visibility in his native South and served as grand marshal for the Nashville AIDS Stroll final 12 months, Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO, mentioned in a press release.

Jordan earned an sudden new following in 2021 when the longtime Los Angeles resident space frolicked in the course of the pandemic lockdown close to household in his hometown. He broke the sameness by posting day by day movies of himself on Instagram.

Lots of Jordan’s movies included him asking “How ya’ll doin?” and a few included tales about Hollywood or his childhood rising up with similar twin sisters and their “mama,” as he known as her. Different occasions he did foolish bits like full an indoor impediment course.

“Somebody known as from California and mentioned, ’Oh, honey, you’ve gone viral.’ And I mentioned, ’No, no, I don’t have COVID. I’m simply in Tennessee,” mentioned Jordan. Celebrities together with Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Alba and Anderson Cooper, together with manufacturers equivalent to Reebok and Lululemon, would put up feedback.

Quickly he turned fixated with the variety of views and followers he had, as a result of there wasn’t a lot else happening. By the point of his dying, he amassed 5.8 million followers on Instagram and one other 2.3 million on TikTok.

“For some time there, it was like obsessive. And I assumed, ’That is ridiculous. Cease, cease, cease.′ You realize, it virtually turned, ’If it doesn’t occur on Instagram, it didn’t occur.’ And I assumed, ‘You’re 65, initially. You’re not some teenage woman.’”

The highlight led to new alternatives. Earlier this month he launched a gospel album known as “Firm’s Comin’” that includes Dolly Parton, Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Eddie Vedder and Tanya Tucker. He wrote a brand new ebook, “How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Properly Lived.”

It was Jordan’s second ebook, following his 2008 memoir, “My Journey Down the Pink Carpet,” a private tackle Hollywood, fame, habit, homosexual tradition and studying to like oneself.

“That type of handled all of the angst and rising up homosexual within the Baptist Church and la, la, la, la, la. And this one, I simply wished to inform tales,” he instructed The Related Press in 2021. Among the many anecdotes: working with Woman Gaga on “American Horror Story”; how assembly Carrie Fisher led to Debbie Reynolds calling his mom and the Shetland pony he acquired as a baby named Midnight.

He turned lots of his recollections and observations of life into stage productions, together with off-Broadway runs of his musicalized memoir “Hysterical Blindness” and a 2010 model of his “My Journey Down the Pink Carpet,” a present that alternated between stand-up comedy and spirited one-man present.

These celebrities in mourning included Jackée Harry, Marlee Matlin and Kristen Johnston, who known as Jordan “magical.” Lynda Carter wrote he “put a smile on the faces of so many, particularly together with his pandemic movies. What a feat to maintain us all laughing and linked in such tough occasions.”

In a 2014 interview with Philadelphia journal, Jordan was requested how he associated to his function within the 2013 movie “Southern Baptist Sissies,” which explores rising up homosexual whereas being raised in a conservative Baptist church.

“I actually wished to be a extremely good Christian, like a number of the boys within the film. I used to be baptized 14 occasions,” Jordan mentioned. “Each time the preacher would say, ‘Come ahead, sinners!,’ I’d say ‘Oooh, I used to be out within the woods with that boy, I higher go ahead.’ My mom thought I used to be being dramatic. She’d say, ‘Leslie, you’re already saved,’ and I’d say, ’Properly, I don’t assume it took.”

In 2007, Jordan mentioned how a job as an Alcoholics Nameless sponsor within the CW teen drama “Hidden Palms” mirrored his life and included a priceless lesson.

“If there’s something that youngsters may stroll away with it’s that individuals who use medication and alcohol are masking one thing,” Jordan instructed the AP. “With me, it was my homosexuality. It was simply simpler to be homosexual after I was excessive. So I stayed excessive for 33 years. … I don’t know when it went from leisure to medicinal, however that’s the road you cross the place I wanted a drink to get to a celebration, to be humorous, to be me.”

The actor modified course after a drunk-driving incident in December of 1997.

“I stayed sober, didn’t take an aspirin. Nothing. And I labored my (expletive) off, and my profession started to blossom.”

Jordan first arrived in Los Angeles in 1982 on a Trailways bus “with a dream and $1,200 pinned in my undershorts,” hoping to make it as an actor. He was instructed his 4-foot-11 stature and accent would maintain him again, however proved the naysaysers unsuitable.

His huge break got here enjoying the function of a hapless ex-con in a 1989 episode of “Murphy Brown.”

“When that episode aired, my agent known as the subsequent day and mentioned, ‘I’ve by no means seen something like this. The cellphone is ringing off the hook.’”

— Kennedy reported from New York. Alicia Rancilio in New York additionally contributed to this report.

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