Leslie Jordan remembered by Tennesseans

Tributes poured in Monday for the late, great Leslie Jordan after the Tennessee-born actor, writer and entertainer died in Los Angeles.
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 10:37 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Tributes poured in Monday for the late, great Leslie Jordan. The Tennessee-born actor, writer and entertainer died in Los Angeles at the age of 67. His agent said he had a medical emergency while driving.

Some in Middle Tennessee said he was an icon and inspiration.

“I came out in 2008,” minister Eric A. Patton said. “The first thing I was told to do was watch Will & Grace. It was the first time I had really seen someone who sounded like me with a country queer voice. He was being celebrated on this great TV show I was already in love with.”

Jordan is a role model to many, including Patton, who is a minister in Nashville.

“Leslie was such a man of deep faith,” Patton said. “Queer people are so often rejected from the church. For him to be loud and out and proud as not only gay, but a gay Christian, that is powerful.”

Patton said he became a fan of Jordan’s during his Emmy-winning performance on Will & Grace. Jordan later went on to have roles in shows like American Horror Story and Call Me Kat. He became a social media star during the pandemic.

Monday, Jordan died at the age of 67 in a car wreck in Los Angeles. “I have had myself a few good cries,” Patton said.

Jordan was from Chattanooga and was the grand marshal for the Nashville Pride Parade in June.

“It meant a lot to me personally,” Nicholas Gulick with the Nashville Pride Board of Directors said. “A lot of folks like myself who grew up, queer folks in Tennessee, in the south, definitely identified with him and what he stood for and all the work he did.”

Patton is a wedding officiant and said his work is inspired in part by Jordan’s joy.

“That is what I like to do, spread a little love and light,” Patton said.

While he will miss Jordan, Patton said he hopes to meet his role model one day.

“I know he is back home with his momma and his maker today,” Patton said. “I am broken-hearted for me, but I am happy for him.”