Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian Leslie Jordan — known for his roles on “Will and Grace” and the current Fox comedy “Call Me Kat” — died Monday after the car he was driving crashed into a wall in Hollywood, possibly the result of a medical emergency, according to authorities and published reports.
The crash was reported about 9:30 a.m. near Cahuenga Boulevard and Romaine Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The 67-year-old man driving the car died at the scene, according to the LAPD. TMZ, quoting law enforcement sources, said it was suspected he suffered some sort of medical emergency before crashing his BMW into the side of a building.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office later confirmed the motorist was Jordan, but it was not immediately clear if he died as a result of the crash or because of a medical emergency.
The 4-foot-11 Jordan was known for his work on TV shows such as “Will & Grace,” for which he won a Primetime Emmy in 2006, “The Cool Kids” and “American Horror Story.” Jordan also acted in movies, including “The Help” and “Ski Patrol.”
He became a social-media sensation during the early days of the pandemic, posting humorous videos while in quarantine in his native Tennessee, riffing on music, sometimes dancing, and telling stories about his acting career.
“The world is definitely a much darker place today without the love and light of Leslie Jordan,” his manager, David Shaul, said in a statement.
“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. 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.”
Bart Stevens, who worked as a personal assistant to Jordan for eight years prior to his death, told reporters that the actor’s personality closely matched his on-screen persona, and said in reality he was “more loving, more caring, more charming.”
Reaction also poured in from around the entertainment world as word spread of Jordan’s death.
Eric McCormack, who starred as Will Truman on “Will & Grace,” celebrated Jordan as the “funniest & flirtiest Southern gent I’ve ever known.”
“The joy and laughter he brought to every one of his Will & Grace episodes was palpable,” McCormack tweeted. “Gone about thirty years too soon. You were loved, sweet man.”
“Will & Grace” co-star Sean Hayes added that Jordan “was one of the funniest people I ever had the pleasure of working with.”
“Everyone who ever met him, loved him,” Hayes tweeted. “There will never be anyone like him. A unique talent with an enormous, caring heart. You will be missed, my dear friend.”
Mayim Bialik, the star of “Call Me Kat,” tweeted, “There aren’t words to convey the loss we are experiencing as a cast and a Call Me Kat family. Leslie Jordan was larger than life. He was a Southern gentleman; tender, wise, naughty and hilarious.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), issued a statement saying, “Leslie Jordan was a multi-talented entertainer who charmed audiences for decades with heartfelt characters on-screen and passionate LGBTQ advocacy off-screen.”
“As someone who was very proud of their Tennessee roots, he made it a priority to help increase visibility for LGBTQ people in the South by participating in The Concert for Love & Acceptance and serving as Grand Marshal at the Nashville AIDS Walk last year,” the statement continued.
In 2006, in accepting his Emmy, Jordan said in his acceptance speech, “I loved doing Will & Grace. They trotted me out like an aging show pony.”
He then shifted gears to combine humor with emotion when he continued, “Years ago I learned there are two ways to fight homophobia. One is through humor — I learned that in dodgeball in junior high, when I had to tap-dance to keep from getting creamed. The other is to put a face on it.”
Updated at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 24, 2022
— City News Service