Karine Jean-Pierre
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Leslie Jordan, Iconic Gay Comedian, Dead at 67

Leslie Jordan Dead at 67

The beloved comedic actor Leslie Jordan has died. He was 67 years old.

The news was first reported by TMZ.

Law enforcement told the outlet that Jordan crashed his BMW into the side of a building. Authorities said Jordan may have had a medical emergency before the crash, TMZ reports.

The building Jordan hit was at Cahuenga Boulevard and Romaine Street in Hollywood, the Los Angeles Times reports. He was declared dead at the scene of the crash.

The condition of Jordan’s BMW indicates he may have lost control of it before hitting the building, the Times notes.

On Instagram, Jordan’s official account posted a tribute to the actor.

“The love and light that Leslie shared will never go out and we invite you to share their memories and comfort each other during this time. In the coming days we will be giving a glimpse of a project Leslie was really proud of and was looking forward to sharing with the world,” it said.

Jordan was best known for his longtime role as Beverley Leslie on Will & Grace. The Memphis, Tenn.-born actor became a rival to Megan Mulally's Karen Walker on the show and won an Emmy Award for his portrayal in 2006.

He developed a long career in film and television appearances with projects like Reba, American Horror Story, Ugly Betty, and Nash Bridges to his name. He also played Lonnie Garr in Hearts Afire from 1993 to 1995.

At the time of his death, he was starring in Call Me Kat along with out actor Cheyenne Jackson, Mayim Bialik, Kyla Pratt, Julian Gant, and Swoosie Kurtz. 

During the pandemic, Jordan became a social media star via Instagram. He posted videos from an Airbnb he was living in doing everything from twirling batons to cracking jokes, and making his Instagram following grow exponentially from 80,000 followers to more than 3 million. He even gave anecdotes about his life, revealing photos of himself when he was younger and nicknames he'd once had like “Sweet N Low.”

Related: Leslie Jordan Is the Baton-Twirling Comic the World Needs in a Crisis

"I'd do an exercise video because there are so many gay men with these perfect abs and they do exercise videos," Jordan told The Advocate in 2020 for a digital cover story about how the viral videos started. "So I did an exercise video where my stomach looked like my water's about to break.”

This viral stardom seemed to coincide with renewed interest. Ryan Murphy began a new project with Jordan and Dylan McDermott in 2020. In addition, Jordan was named the host of a competition show about cleaning called Squeaky Clean.

Jordan was a multihyphenate performing on-screen and onstage, in addition to releasing music. In 2021, Jordan released his first album, titled Company's Comin’, featuring gay icon Dolly Parton and out singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile among others, and he went on to make his Grand Ole Opry debut as a result. He's also written stage plays like My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, Stories I Can't Tell Mama, and Fruit Fly.

Earlier this year, Jordan took to Instagram to announce that his mother, Peggy Ann Griffin Jordan, had died.

For someone with a career so extensive — he first came to Hollywood in 1982 — Jordan is a rarity in that he never officially had a "coming out" moment, as he's been out for the lion's share of his career. In interviews, though, he spoke about how his agents have at times pushed him to "butch it up."

"Well, sh*t ..." as Jordan might say in one of his viral videos.

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