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  • Leslie Jordan. Courtesy photo

Dead at 67: Beloved Gay Icon Leslie Jordan Wanted to Be Remembered as a ‘Good Guy’

'Will & Grace' actor talked to Pride Source in 2021 about his legacy

By |2022-10-25T11:39:46-04:00October 24th, 2022|National, News|

Veteran film, television actor and viral sensation Leslie Jordan has died after suffering an apparent medical attack and crashing his car into a building in Hollywood Monday morning. Tributes from around the world about the beloved actor are already pouring in across social media, many focused on Jordan’s own entertaining social media posts during the height of the pandemic.

“The world is definitely a much darker place today without the love and light of Leslie Jordan. 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,” a representative for Jordan said in a statement. “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.”

Jordan’s work on shows like “Will & Grace,” “Hearts Afire,” “The Cool Kids,” “Call Me Kat” and “American Horror Story” was well regarded and, often, groundbreaking. Consider that “Will & Grace” star Sean Hayes played a gay character on the show from the start, but didn’t come out in real life for another decade. It was an iconic moment with Jordan’s character on the show, Beverly, came out to Karen partly because he was openly gay offscreen, too. 

The whole world fell in love with Jordan during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, when the actor entertained social media followers with his hilarious takes on everyday, “bored as shit” life during a time when we were all stuck at home. The comedian rose to the occasion with his trademark self-deprecation front and center. 

Pride Source connected with Jordan twice over the past two years — once in February 2021 and again in February of this year

Reflecting on his casting in the sitcom “Call Me Kat” this past February, Jordan told editorial director Chris Azzopardi that he wanted the show to “go for a while.”

“I’m at an age,” he said, laughing. “I’m 66. I was thinking if it went as long as ‘Big Bang Theory,’ I’d be like almost 80 when it’s over. I’ll be ready to retire. I’d be so rich.” 

Jordan may not have reached that goal, but he leaves behind a legacy of laughter and pure-hearted joy that will impact generations to come. “I have achieved everything I came to Hollywood to achieve,” he told Azzopardi. “I’ve done Broadway, I’ve done film, I’ve done a lot of television. … ‘Call Me Kat’ looks like it’s pulling some numbers. It may stay around for a little while, which is a wonderful thing to know as an actor. I have a job!” 

During the 2021 interview, Jordan reflected on his iconic voice, which became part of his signature persona over the years. “I got to Hollywood, and there was a casting director that told me, ‘You’re such a character actor already, and if you could lose your Southern accent… .’ And I tried, and I couldn’t,” he said. “The day that I decided, ‘Well, this is just a marketable package here’ was the day that I started working. But I worried more, I think, because of my internal homophobia about my gay accent. I would listen to myself and think, ‘Oh girl, you’ve gotta calm down a little bit.’”

At the time of the February 2022 interview, Jordan was 66 and said he’d reached a point where he was “comfortable with myself — who I am and what I am. And that’s a wonderful place to be. So, everything from here on out is just gravy. It really is just living one day at a time and having a really good time.” 

Asked how he’d want to be remembered one day, Jordan said he’d want to be remembered like “a Dolly Parton.”

“‘Nobody had a bad word. He was a nice guy.’ And the fact that I’m fairly talented in this and that, that’s OK. But I just want people to know he was good. He was a nice guy. He was a good guy. I think that’s most important. And that I was raised right.”

About the Author:

Sarah Bricker Hunt, a proud Eastern Michigan University alum and the managing editor for Pride Source/Between The Lines, believes in the power of intentional journalism focused on people building their communities through everyday acts of love and service.
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