Jordan’s agent, David Shaul of talent agency BRS/Gage, said in a statement that “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 a joy to work with, but he provided emotional sanctuary for the nation at one of its most difficult times,” Shaul wrote, referencing Instagram videos Jordan filmed during the lock. “What he lacked in size he made up for in generosity and greatness as a son, brother, entertainer, comedian, partner and human being. Knowing that he left the world at the height of his professional and personal life is the only consolation one can have today.
In an April 2020 interview with The Washington Post, Jordan said he joined Instagram at the request of casting director Tess Sanchez Greenfield, who said it would be “perfect for you.” His follower count grew rapidly as his videos were widely reposted — first by castmates such as Megan Mullally, he said, then by complete strangers. At one point, according to Jordan, he “posted something a little faded once and something called ‘Best of Grindr’, sort of a hookup site, posted it.”
Jordan didn’t fully understand his rise to internet fame at the time – “Who are these people? I had no idea,” he recalled his initial response to the influx of subscribers — but embraced it anyway.
“But either way, it’s fine,” he told the Post. “It’s nice to be 65 and have a million internet followers. It’s not the path I planned, but you go with the flow.
Along with his acting skills, Jordan has earned praise for being open about his sexuality. He spoke about what it was like to be a gay man who grew up in the church on Shania Twain’s radio show last year: “I firmly believe that God made me that way,” did he declare. “I am not a mistake.”
After learning of Jordan’s death, playwright Jeremy O. Harris tweeted that Jordan was “truly one of the minds that made growing old as a queer man more exciting than existing in the present”.
Eric McCormack, who played the titular Will on “Will & Grace,” wrote that he was “crushed to learn of the loss of…the funniest, most attractive southern man I’ve ever known” who brought “joy and laughter” to the show. “Thirty years gone too soon,” he added. “You were loved, kind man.”
Actor Sean Hayes, who also starred on the long-running show, shared a photo of himself with Jordan and wrote on Twitter that “Leslie Jordan was one of the funniest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Everyone who met him loved him. There will never be anyone like him.”
Jackée Harry, who tweeted that she was “completely heartbroken,” shared a clip of Jordan appearing alongside her on sitcom “The Cool Kids.” She continued, “This man was never afraid to play the fool! The smiles he brought to our faces can never be counted. They are endless.
Actress Marlee Matlin remembers working with Jordan on his first TV series, “Reasonable Doubts”, adding that he was “at the top of his game and had so much to look forward to”.
Mayor Tim Kelly of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Jordan’s hometown, shared a photo of himself with Jordan and describes the actor on Twitter as “a Chattanooga legend and national treasure who brought joy and hope to millions, leaving behind a lasting legacy of love and acceptance”.
Actresses Lynda Carter and Hannah Waddingham were among those who noted how Jordan’s videos had comforted them during the pandemic: “What an achievement to keep us all laughing and staying connected in such difficult times,” Carter said. “It’s so cruel that this could happen to such a beautiful soul.”
Waddingham expressed her gratitude for Jordan’s “selfless warmth and humor during the world’s lockdown”, adding that she felt “so blessed that I was able to tell you in person what you have meant to me”.
Devastated to learn that Leslie Jordan has passed away. He was such a strange icon to me. My first exposure to him was in one of my favorite movies Sordid Lives! I literally saw him a few weeks ago in LA. 😢 my thoughts are with the people he was close to! 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Rv1nhXtLDR
— Trinity The Tuck 🏳️⚧️ (@TrinityTheTuck) October 24, 2022
Last time I worked with Leslie Jordan…we co-hosted The Talk…Leslie was so fun to be around, always had a fun story and he inspired me to continue in an industry that might be aging…You gonna I miss my friend.. Mom is waiting for you. pic.twitter.com/HUsJNFAd9o
— Loni Love (@LoniLove) October 24, 2022
Leslie Jordan. What an angel. Gone way too soon. TO TEAR APART. ❤️🌈
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) October 24, 2022