Law enforcement sources told TMZ and then the Los Angeles Times that they suspected the beloved actor Leslie Jordan suffered a medical emergency before crashing his BMW into the side of a building in Hollywood.
Leslie was famous for his role as Beverly Leslie on the popular American sitcom ‘Will and Grace’, a part for which he won a Primetime Emmy in 2006. Jordan also appeared in shows like “Hearts Afire”, “the cool kids”, “American Horror story” and “call me Kat”.
Leslie’s agent Don le Clair said he was on his way to the Warner Bros Studios on the set of “call me Kat” for the shooting of its third season which is airing on FOX. The productions of the show have now been on hold according to Variety. Jordan played the head baker in Kat’s cafe in the show Call me Kat, the show is based on a British hit named ‘Miranda’
Jordan was born in 1955 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He came out as gay at the age of 12 to his mother, when society was deeply conservative. “I told my mother I thought something was up. I didn’t even know the word ‘gay,’” he told People magazine last year.
“She didn’t pull her Bible out, which I thought she would. She said, ‘I’m just really afraid that if you choose this path, you’ll be ridiculed,’” he recalled, adding that she told him to “‘just live your life quietly.’ I didn’t follow her advice on that one.”
He was raised as a southern baptist in a middle-class family living in the suburbs. At the age of 11, he lost his father, who was a lieutenant colonel in the US army, in a plane crash.
“I so wanted to be a good Christian, I really did,” he told the Guardian in 2021. “I wanted to follow the teachings of Christ to the best of my ability, and I tried, but then the whole gay thing starts happening. At the age of 17, I turned my back on religion.”
He used Humour as a defence mechanism – “even today, if I meet somebody and I’m not comfortable or not ready to open up, I’ll just make them laugh”, he said. “Then I don’t have to let them in. So I was made fun of [at school], but I always had a retort.”
The actor graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1982 after which he moved to LA and did a few commercials before making his debut in the drama Murphy Brown. He made guest appearances on shows like Lois Clark: the new superman, Star Trek: Voyager, and Boston Public.
During the pandemic, he reclaimed his fame by going viral on Instagram for making silly, quirky videos and offering commentary on pop music, and creating dance routines all the while quarantined in an apartment in his hometown in Chattanooga. He raised his followers from 80,000 to 5.8 million through his videos.
“A friend of mine called from California and said, ‘You have gone viral.’ And I said, ‘No, honey, I’m fine. I don’t have Covid,’” he joked in one video.
He was pretty open about his battles with substance abuse, starting from his first drink at the age of 14 and until he got sober in the 1990s. He recalled once ending up in a jail cell with Robert Downy Jr. who was also battling addiction. Leslie humorously added, “I’m partially responsible for his success”.
He spoke to CNN host Anderson Cooper, “People say ‘Well how do you get sober, what’s the best way,’” Jordan said. “Yeah, well 120 days in the jailhouse in Los Angeles. That will sober you up.”
Leslie also appeared on CNN’s new year eye 2021 following his internet fame during the pandemic, ringing in 2022 along with Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper.
“The world is definitely a much darker place today without the love and light of Leslie Jordan,” said David Shaul, Jordan’s agent. “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.”
On Sunday he posted a video of himself singing a hymn, he was also seen in public just last month figuring out his response to Elton John and Britney Spears releasing a new song together.
Leslie was contributing to Project Angel food in LA, a Non-Profit organization that delivers food to HIV/AIDS patients.
Many of the famous actors and co-stars of Leslie paid tribute to him on Twitter.
Jordan’s co-star from “Will & Grace” Sean Hayes tweeted: “My heart is broken. Leslie Jordan was one of the funniest people I ever had the pleasure of working with. 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.”
And RuPaul’s Drag Race – the show on which Jordan starred as a guest judge – wrote on Twitter: “Rest in peace, Leslie Jordan. Thank you for the countless laughs and for sharing your spirit with us all.”
“I am stunned at the death of Leslie Jordan, who delighted us with his many roles on television and film,” actor George Takei posted on Twitter. “Leslie, we are heartbroken at your loss and will miss your mirth and your inimitable spirit.”
Source – TMZ, The Guardian, and BBC