Weeks before his death, Leslie Jordan reflected on his career and unexpected turn to country music

Weeks before his death, Leslie Jordan reflected on his career and unexpected turn to country music

A few weeks ago, beloved actor and comedian Leslie Jordan reflected on his life and career in an interview with CBS News, including his recent — and unexpected — pivot to country music. 

“So unexpected just to happen in my 60s — I’m a country music singer now,” he told CBS News with a laugh, just weeks before he died Monday after a car crash.

“I love Nashville and the way that Nashville embraced me, you know, and to be taken kind of serious, and to have made an album with Dolly Parton, Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile? That’s something.”

Jordan decided to make the career switch after responses on social media. He released his debut southern gospel album, “Company’s Comin’,” last year, which included recreated classic Christian hymns alongside iconic country music artists. 

“I had a Sunday Instagram singing hymns and people started tuning in and somehow from that, we decided to make an album,” he said. 

But before his jump to music, Jordan appeared in array of roles in shows including “American Horror Story” and “Will & Grace,” for which he won an Emmy for outstanding guest actor. 

He said he caught the acting bug while he was a student at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. 

“I was not one who did plays in high school,” he recalled. “I was always funny, but that was to keep the bullies at bay and I got up in that Intro to Theater class, and it just hit me like a drug.”

The young actor headed to Hollywood in 1982 where he landed some roles in commercials. Roles in television followed. 

And when the pandemic hit, Jordan received yet another wave of fame with his viral videos on social media. He went from 80,000 followers to nearly 6 million.

“I blew up,” Jordan said. “Give me a good pandemic and I flourish.”

We need good vibrations! Happiness is a habit. Happiness is a choice. Happiness is something we have to work toward.

Posted by Leslie Jordan on Sunday, July 17, 2022

“I was just thinking, ‘My gosh who are these people that want to hear what I have to say?'” he said. “It was just the innocence of it I guess.” 

He recalled people asking him to “do that Leslie Jordan thing,” which he said is being “just bright and bubbly” — characteristics he said he’s had since a little boy in Chattanooga. 

“I was a sissy, you know? I wasn’t good at sports.” he said. “My dad was a lieutenant colonel in the army. He was a man’s man and his, you know, group of guys would come home and I’d be twirling a baton in the front yard.”

Celebrities and politicians like Billy Eichner, RuPaul, Rosie O’Donnell, Tim Kelly and others mourned the loss of Jordan on Monday, remembering him as a “legend and national treasure who brought joy and hope to millions, leaving behind a lasting legacy of love and acceptance.”

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