6 Reasons We’re Going to Miss Leslie Jordan

Last Updated on November 2, 2022

Leslie Jordan may have stood only 4 feet and 11 inches tall, but his larger-than-life personality saw him tower over everyone he came into contact with. The actor-turned-social media sensation died on October 24, 2022, after his car crashed on the side of a building. It’s still unclear whether the crash resulted from a medical issue, but it is believed that the late actor lost control of his vehicle.

Jordan became a social media star during the COVID-19 pandemic amassing over 5.5 million followers on Instagram. Jordan died at 67, so in honor of a life well lived, let’s look back at what made him great and why we will miss him.

1. He Was a Queer Icon

Jordan was gay and proud and even used his fame for good during the early AIDS crisis, working with and delivering food for Project Angel Food. His character on Will & Grace was one of the many who helped members of the LGBTQ+ become accepted in mainstream society.

The media likes portraying gay men with some particular cringe worth affectations, but Jordan blew past every gay cliché and presented characters who were authentic. Jordan told WJLA in September 2022 that he doesn’t think of himself as a pioneer in the LGBTQ+ world but acknowledged that he was at the forefront of the movement.

Jordan lived life boldly and loudly and wasn’t afraid to embrace his queerness. He was sassy and had a good fashion sense, even once joking that he came out of his mother’s womb donning high heels.

2. His Prolific Body of Work Included Shows Like Will & Grace

Jordan’s career started in 1986 when he appeared in The Fall Guy playing Malone. His performance made him immediately recognizable, and his short stature and Southern drawl made him intriguing.

Jordan starred alongside Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer in The Help playing Mr. Blackly, the newspaper editor. However, his best-known performance was in the comedy series Will & Grace, where he played the snide Beverley Leslie.

Beverley was Karen’s effeminate and conniving frenemy on the show. The performance earned Jordan an Emmy Award in 2006 for Outstanding Supporting Actor. He also played the role of Brother Boy (Earl Ingram), the cross-dressing son of the central family in Sordid Lives, who was obsessed with Tammy Wynette.

Jordan reprised his role in the film adaptation starring alongside Olivia Newton-John and also in the TV spinoff. In addition, he was part of American Horror Story, although not in a one-role capacity, as he appeared as several characters, including a sassy member of the witches’ council and a personal assistant.

He appeared severally on RuPaul’s Drag Race, sometimes as a guest judge and once as a guest director for Moulin Ru: The Rusical in the show’s 13th season. In 2018, Jordan landed a role in the Fox sitcom The Cool Kids, and in 2020, he played Phil in Call Me Kat opposite Mayim Bialik and Kyla Pratt.

3. He Was Genuinely Funny

We could listen to Jordan speak all day. That’s the kind of effect he had on people. He was genuinely himself and very funny. According to the Los Angeles Blade, the star used his humor to avoid being teased or bullied. “In high school- nobody teased me because I was funny. I learned to be funny to keep the bullies at bay,” he said.

4. He Was a Viral Social Media Star Who Kept Us Laughing When We Needed It

2020 was a downer. The pandemic claimed lives and jobs and snuffed out the joy from many things, but some people, like Jordan, managed to offer comfort during such a dark time. Jordan grew his social media accounts over the lockdown period, with his follower count growing thanks to his twice-a-day postings.

In April 2020, the actor surpassed a million followers on Instagram, which continued soaring due to his candid and relatable videos. By the time he left this world, Jordan had amassed over 2 million followers on TikTok and nearly 6 million on Instagram.

Jordan wasn’t afraid to make his audience laugh, even at his expense. He often shared videos of him being silly, dancing around, and many of his statements became soundbites on TikTok. He also told stories to his audiences sometimes while making a hearty plate for himself.

5. He Was a Great Storyteller

Jordan had mastered the art of capturing an audience and keeping them coming back, and his Southern drawl made his stories much more interesting. In an interview with PEOPLE, Jordan said, “There’s a secret to telling a good story. First, you have to be Southern- [then] you’ve got to have a very strong beginning. You’ve always got to have a punchline to end it with.”

Jordan would begin telling a story, and for some reason, you’d want to hear the rest of it, even if it was about the cats in his childhood neighborhood. Some stories also involved his substance abuse and recovery process.

6. He Inspired Others by Being Open About His Struggles with Sobriety

Jordan has inspired many, especially those struggling with alcohol and substance abuse. The star said he had his first drink at 14. Jordan, who grew up in a family with teetotalers, said the drink made him confident and precious, and he continued with the habit for 33 years before thinking about quitting.

The habit became so bad that Jordan said he got three DUIs in one year and was sentenced to 120 days, even sharing a cell with Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. He finally decided to take the first step, and once he got clean, he remained that way.

Jordan once recalled in an appearance on Apple Music Country’s Southern Accents Radio per Billboard that he had mixed reactions after hearing Amy Winehouse’s hit song ‘Rehab.’ He said the song made him “nervous” because he thought it would prevent people who need rehab from going.

However, the more he thought about it, the more it resonated with him and his sober journey. “I started thinking more about it. If you listen close to it, it’s a plea,” Jordan said.

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