Actor Leslie Jordan has died after a car accident in Los Angeles on Monday at the age of 67.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ and then the Los Angeles Times that they suspected the beloved actor suffered a medical emergency before crashing his BMW into the side of a building in Hollywood.
Known for roles in American Horror Story, Hearts Afire, and his Emmy-winning turn on Will & Grace, Jordan found renewed fame at 65 as an accidental internet sensation during the pandemic. Posting gossipy, relatable daily videos to Instagram, the diminutive star – he stood 4’11 ”in shoes – reached a new audience after decades as a jobbing actor.
“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.”
The veteran actor’s credits also include The Help, The Cool Kids and Call Me Kat, a remake of the British hit Miranda, which is airing its third season on Fox. He received critical acclaim for his turn as Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram in the stage play Sordid Lives, which was later adapted into a 2000 cult romantic comedy film of the same name.
Born in Tennessee in 1955, Jordan was raised Southern Baptist in the middle-class suburbs of Chattanooga. His father, a lieutenant colonel in the US army, died in a plane crash when he was 11.
As a teenager, he was torn between the church of his youth and his sexuality – “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 resorted to humor as a defense 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. “
Jordan moved to Los Angeles in 1982 and started in commercials before finding work in film and television. In the early 90s, he was involved with Project Angel Food in LA, a non-profit organization delivering food to people with HIV / Aids.
Tributes began pouring in on Monday as news of Jordan’s death was confirmed.
Jordan’s Will & Grace co-star 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. “
“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.”
Wonder Woman actor Lynda Carter also referred to his “beautiful soul” while paying tribute to his pandemic videos.