Actor Leslie Jordan, best known for his role in Will & Grace, has died at the age of 67.
"The world is definitely a much darker place today without the love and light of Leslie Jordan," a representative for Jordan said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
"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 statement reads. "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."
According to TMZ and Variety, Jordan was driving in Hollywood on Monday morning and crashed into the side of a building at Cahuenga Boulevard and Romaine Street. It is suspected he suffered some sort of medical emergency.
The veteran actor rose to television fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s with roles in sitcoms such as Will & Grace, Hearts Afire, and Murphy Brown. In recent years, Jordan appeared in The Help, American Horror Story, and the Fox sitcom Call Me Kat, among other shows.
In 2005, Jordan won a primetime Emmy for his performance as Beverly Leslie in Will & Grace.
Born April 29, 1955, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Jordan was raised in a Southern Baptist family. In a 2014 interview with Philadelphia Magazine, Jordan said that he had a difficult time growing up Southern Baptist. "I was baptized 14 times," he told the outlet. "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 studied journalism and theater in college and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in show business in 1982. But he soon became involved with drugs and alcohol, and by his mid-20s, he had been arrested several times.
"I felt it was a lot easier to be gay when I was loaded," Jordan told People magazine in 2021. "My problem was I was a bar drinker. I started getting DUIs. My gosh. And that one year , I got three in a row. They sentenced me to 120 days."
Jordan got sober at the age of 42. “I ended up in the pokey,” he told the Guardian in 2021. “That’s what I tell people: if you want to get sober, try 27 days in the LA men’s county jail. That will sober your ass up."
During the AIDS crisis, he became involved in the AIDS Project Los Angeles as a buddy as well as a food delivery person for Project Angel Food, a nonprofit that provided food to people living with HIV/AIDs.
During the pandemic, Jordan became a social media sensation, gaining millions of Instagram followers due to the funny daily videos he would post of himself during quarantine. Many of the videos included him asking, “How y'all doin'?” and some included stories about Hollywood and his upbringing.
In 2020, he spoke to the New York Times about his COVID-19 lockdown videos. "What I love, though, are people that pull me aside and say: Listen, I don’t want to bother you, but I’ve had a rough go. I’ve been locked down. I’ve got kids, and I looked forward to your posts, and you really, really helped me through this tough time. When people tell you things like that, you realize comedy is important."
On his Instagram account, which boasts 5.4 million followers, Jordan would often post videos of himself singing gospel hymns. In 2021, Jordan released a gospel music album titled Company's Comin' and also appeared as a guest panelist on The Masked Singer.
When asked in 2021 whether he thought he broke barriers for gay actors, Jordan told the Guardian that “When you’re in the midst of it, you don’t see it that way – but in retrospect, I think: I was so brave to be so gay so early on," he said, adding that despite being told to “take it down a notch, butch it up a little,” he always stayed true to himself. “I think that’s the way the barriers were broken," he said.