Comedian and actor Leslie Jordan, known for his roles in “Will & Grace” and “American Horror Story” and his uplifting Instagram videos about the pandemic, died after a car accident Monday in Hollywood.
Jordan, 67, won a primetime Emmy in 2006 for her performance as Beverley Leslie on the hit TV show “Will & Grace.”
Jordan was driving a BMW when it crashed into the side of a building at Cahuenga Boulevard and Romaine Street in Hollywood at 9:30 a.m., Los Angeles Police Department officer Lizbeth Lomeli told The Times. The longtime actor and writer was pronounced dead at the scene.
It was not immediately clear whether Jordan had been killed in the accident or suffered a medical emergency previously, but the condition of the vehicle suggested that Jordan may have lost control before hitting the building, a source said. policewoman.
After Jordan got his big break in 1989 when he was cast in the first season of “Murphy Brown,” his 30-year career was marked by stage-stealing roles on TV shows such as “Bodies of Evidence” and “Hearts Afire”.
His fame grew starring in NBC’s “Will & Grace,” as well as Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” franchise and “The Cool Kids,” in which he played confident, queer old man Sid Delacroix. Jordan was currently starring in the Fox sitcom “Call Me Kat,” which recently launched its third season.
While holed up in an apartment in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee during the early months of the pandemic in 2020, Jordan found viral fame with a constant series of comedic videos posted to his Instagram account of 5.8 million users, marked by its lively, southern accent.
Greeting his followers with his iconic signature, “Well, what the fuck are you doing?” and posting twice a day for 80 days, Jordan joked about everyday life during the pandemic; giving colorful reactions to the latest music, like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s single, “WAP”; create dance montages to pop music from her garden to her living room; and during walks, reminiscing with humor on moments of his acting career.
“A friend of mine called me from California and said, ‘You have gone viral.‘ And I said, ‘No, honey, I’m fine. I don’t have COVID’,” Jordan joked in one of the videos. “I don’t know how I did it because now I’m scrambling for content. … Every day I think, ‘Oh, my God! I need to post. What should I find? »
David Shaul, the actor’s rep, released a statement about his death.
“The world is definitely a much darker place today without the love and light of Leslie Jordan,” Shaul said. “Not only was he a mega talent and a joy to work with, but he provided an emotional sanctuary for the nation at one of its most difficult times. What he lacked in size he made up for in generosity and in greatness as a son, brother, artist, comedian, partner and human being, knowing that he left the world at the height of his professional and personal life is the only consolation one can have today.
Tributes from fellow actors and comedians began pouring in after news of Jordan’s death spread on social media.
Eric McCormack, who starred as Will Truman alongside Jordan in “Will & Grace,” hailed the little dandy as “the funniest, most handsome Southern gentleman I’ve ever known.”
“The joy and laughter he brought to each of his #WillandGrace episodes was palpable. Gone 30 years too soon. You were loved, dear man,” McCormack tweeted.
“Will & Grace” co-star Sean Hayes chimed in, saying, “Leslie Jordan was one of the funniest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”
“Everyone who met him loved him” Hayes tweeted. “There will never be anyone like him. A unique talent with a huge, caring heart. You will be missed my dear friend.
Actress Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman on the 1970s TV show of the same name, pointed to Jordan’s pandemic-era videos, which “brought so many smiles.”
“What an achievement to keep us all laughing and staying connected during these trying times. … It’s so cruel that this could happen to such a beautiful soul,” Carter wrote.
Some mourners also celebrated Jordan, who was openly gay, as an LGBTQ icon who expanded the possibilities for queer identity on and off screen.
“You were truly one of the spirits that made aging as a queer man more exciting than existing in the present,” wrote Tony Award-nominated playwright Jeremy O. Harris.
drag queen Trinity the Tuck said she had just seen Jordan in Los Angeles last week, writing that she was “devastated to hear that Leslie Jordan had passed away” and remarking, “He was such a weird icon to me.”
In a report posted on Twitter, Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said Jordan “was a multi-talented entertainer who charmed audiences for decades with heartfelt on-screen personas and a passionate defense of the off-screen LGBTQ”. The advocacy group called him “a staunch friend to so many LGBTQ organizations, including GLAAD,” who “also made it a priority to help raise LGBTQ visibility for people in the South.”
During his Instagram videos, Jordan shared stories about the struggles of growing up gay in a religious environment with a father who served in the military. Jordan, who had been sober for two decades, said he coped by turning to alcohol and drugs.
“There was a feeling that I was a bit disappointed,” he recalled during a video. The actor then revealed that he had more trouble being “effeminate” than being gay. “I open my mouth and 50 yards of purple muslin comes out,” he says.
In a June 2020 interview with The New York Times, Jordan said his queer identity helped him find solidarity during the uprisings following the murder of George Floyd. He entrusted his Instagram account to Deesha Dyer, a former member of the Obama cabinet, to lead a conversation on systemic racism.
“I’m really split if I would go on Instagram or anything about it,” Jordan said. “But when you have 4.7 million followers, I mean, you can’t stay silent. I’m a gay man who went through a lot of the early gay rights movements.
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