Obituaries

Leslie Jordan, Versatile Emmy-Winning Actor, Dies At 67

Jordan earned an unexpected new following on social media in 2021 when he spent time during the pandemic lockdown near family in his hometown.

Emmy-winning actor Leslie Jordan.
Damian Dovarganes / AP
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Leslie Jordan, the Emmy-winning actor whose wry Southern drawl and versatility made him a comedy and drama standout on TV series including "Will & Grace" and "American Horror Story," has died. He was 67.

"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 Monday. "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."

The Tennessee native, who won an on outstanding guest actor Emmy in 2005 for "Will & Grace," appeared recently on the Mayim Bialik comedy "Call me Kat" and co-starred on the sitcom "The Cool Kids."

Jordan's other eclectic credits include "Fantasy Island," "The United States vs. Billie Holiday."

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Jordan earned an unexpected new following in 2021 when he spent time during the pandemic lockdown near family in his hometown. He broke the sameness by posting daily videos of himself on Instagram and TikTok. 

Many of Jordan's videos included him asking "How ya'll doin?" and some included stories about Hollywood or his childhood growing up with identical twin sisters and their "mama," as he called her. Other times he did silly bits like complete an indoor obstacle course.

"Someone called from California and said, 'Oh, honey, you've gone viral.' And I said, 'No, no, I don't have Covid. I'm just in Tennessee," said Jordan. Celebrities including Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Alba and Anderson Cooper, along with brands such as Reebok and Lululemon, would post comments.

Soon he became fixated with the number of views and followers he had, because there wasn't much else going on.

"For a while there, it was like obsessive. And I thought, 'This is ridiculous. Stop, stop, stop.' You know, it almost became, 'If it doesn't happen on Instagram, it didn't happen.' And I thought, 'You're 65, first of all. You're not some teenage girl.'"

The spotlight led to new opportunities. Earlier this month he released a gospel album called "Company's Comin'" featuring Dolly Parton, Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Eddie Vedder and Tanya Tucker. He wrote a new book, "How Y'all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived."

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.