The beloved Emmy-winning actor, singer and comedian Leslie Jordan, perhaps best known for playing Beverley Leslie on TV’s Will & Grace, died unexpectedly in a car crash in October at age 67.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he gained an unexpected following by posting witty snippets and stories on Instagram.
In addition to the hilarity of his trademark Southern drawl and energetic banter, Jordan championed LGBTQ equality simply by being an unapologetically open gay man and sharing his journey from self-loathing and religious-based shame to acceptance.
He also spoke frankly about his struggles with alcoholism and addiction. And he supported HIV and AIDS causes by volunteering at nonprofits, raising awareness and lending his star wattage to numerous fundraisers—for example, by serving as the grand marshal and host of the 30th annual Nashville AIDS Walk in 2021.
In the early days of the AIDS epidemic, before lifesaving meds became available, Jordan was living in Los Angeles, a city whose gay community was devastated by HIV.
At the time, he volunteered at Project Angel Food, delivering food to people who were homebound because of AIDS.
“Leslie was more than just a supporter of Project Angel Food—he was family,” the organization’s CEO told the Washington Blade. “When Leslie first moved to LA in the ’90s, he wanted to help people with AIDS, so he volunteered as a driver for Project Angel Food. Leslie presented Project Angel Food with the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s Creative Business Award in 2019 and was such a joy to be around. Our hearts ache [at his passing].”