Will & Grace star leads tributes to Leslie Jordan after actor’s tragic death

Leslie Jordan

Celebrities and fans are paying tribute to the late Leslie Jordan after his untimely death.

Leslie Jordan died after he crashed his BMW into the side of a building, local police told TMZ on Monday (24 October). He was 67 years old.

Will & Grace’s Jack, Sean Hayes, led tributes to his “dear friend”, who he acted with over two decades.

“My heart is broken,” he wrote on Instagram.

“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. Leslie, you will be missed, my dear friend.”

Playwright Jeremy O Harris paid tribute to a “life lived fully”.

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“Your star shined bright no matter where you were on screen and even moreso off,” he wrote.

“You were truly one of the spirits that made ageing as a queer man feel more exciting than existing in the present.”

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Drag artist Cara Van Parke echoed a sentiment shared by many, writing: “Leslie Jordan in Will & Grace was probably my first proper exposure to queer culture. An icon, a legend, a f**king star. So sad to hear that he has left us.

George Takei said he would miss Jordan’s “mirth and inimitable spirit”, saying that Jordan had “delighted” so many with his TV and film roles.

Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter recalled Jordan’s pandemic videos, which won him a new generation of fans.

The official Drag Race Twitter page thanked Leslie Jordan for “countless laughs and for sharing your spirit with us all”. Jordan was a guest judge in season five, and made an appearance in season 14 as a guest director.

Many others, including celebrities and fans alike, shared kind words – including Vulture writer E Alex Jung, who referenced one of Jordan’s most beloved moments.

Leslie Jordan was born in 1955 in Chattanooga Tennessee, and was lauded for his work on stage, screen and in music.

He moved to Los Angeles in 1982 but became heavily involved with alcohol and drugs. He linked substance abuse with the “inner turmoil” he experienced growing up gay – and said that getting sober in 1997 helped him come to terms with his sexuality.

“My journey into my sobriety was also a journey into my queerdom because there was so much internal homophobia, so much self-hated,” he told Page Six. “Happiness is a choice and it’s something you’ve got to work for. I don’t even like the word ‘happy’, I like the word ‘content’.”

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He had small parts in shows such as Ally McBeal and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and appeared in plays including his autobiographic Hysterical Blindness and Other Southern Tragedies That Have Plagued My Life Thus.

To many in the LGBTQ+ community, he will forever be remembered as Beverley Leslie in Will & Grace. Jordan won an Emmy for the character, an acid-tongued frenemy to Karen (Megan Mullally), his role increasing as the show went on.

In September, he revealed that the role was originally written for Joan Collins. 

Over the COVID-19 pandemic Jordan won a new generation of fans on social media, where he documented his lockdown to hilarious effect.

Since 2021 he had starred in the sitcom Call Me Kat, the third season of which premiered just weeks ago.

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