R.I.P. Leslie Jordan: Viola Davis and More Remember the Comedian and Actor

A photo of US actor Leslie Jordan

Leslie Jordan, Emmy-winning actor, comedian, and writer best known for his roles on Will & Grace, American Horror Story, and Hearts Afire passed away on Monday, October 24th at the age of 67. Jordan was driving in Hollywood when it is suspected he suffered a medical emergency and crashed into the side of a building. “The world is definitely a much darker place today without the love and light of Leslie Jordan,” Jordan’s talent agent, Sarabeth Schedeen, said to CNN. “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. What he lacked in height he made up for in generosity and greatness as a son, brother, artist, comedian, partner and human being. Knowing that he has left the world at the height of both his professional and personal life is the only solace one can have today.”

Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1955, Jordan was raised Southern Baptist, which posed an internal issue for the gay actor. “I really wanted to be a really good Christian,” he told Philly Mag in 2014. “I was baptized 14 times. 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.’” Jordan moved to Los Angeles in 1982 and began his career four years later when he was cast as Malone in the TV show The Fall Guy. Over the years, Jordan made appearances on multiple shows including Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Reba, and Murphy Brown. His most popular role of Beverly Leslie on Will & Grace earned him an Emmy in 2006 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. Jordan also held roles in films like The Help, and dabbled in theater. He played Earl "Brother Boy" Ingram in the play Sordid Lives, and then went on to portray the character in both the film and television adaptions. He also wrote many plays throughout the years, mostly autobiographical stories like Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel, which was later turned into a film.

Over the pandemic, Jordan found a new audience on social media, gaining millions of Instagram followers with funny front-facing videos. An LGBT icon, the actor will be remembered for his sense of humor, contributions to television and film, as well as his work with the AIDS Project Los Angeles and other non-profits.

Because of his illustrious career, many were heartbroken to hear of Jordan’s untimely passing and quickly took to social media to pay their respects.