Leslie Jordan Recalled How He Started Acting in What Might Be His Final Interview

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Nordstrom)

While talking to Anthony Mason on CBS Mornings, during what is believed to be his final interview, Leslie Jordan shared how he went from class clown to award-winning Hollywood star.

Jordan talked about everything from his childhood to his recent country music career. But the interview circled about his one true passion, acting.

Jordan found a love for theater while studying at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, which was a surprise to him. He admitted that he never tried out for plays in high school, nor was he interested in the art. So, he never pegged himself as a thespian.

“I was always funny. But that was to keep the bullies at bay,” he laughed.

“I got up in that intro to theater class, and it just hit me like a drug,” Jordan continued. “I mean, I went to the head of the department and I said, ‘tell me, what do I have to do?’ and he said, “first, let’s learn how to pronounce it. It’s not thee-ater. It’s theater.”

Leslie Jordan Got His Start in TV Commercials

Leslie Jordan moved to Hollywood in 1982 and quickly landed a couple of commercials, which got him on a “roll” in TV ads. During his stint, he played iconic parts such as the Pit Printing guy and the elevator operator to Hamberger Hell who showed people where they go if they don’t eat Taco Bell tacos.

It didn’t take long for Leslie Jordan to find jobs in sitcoms after that. One of his first notable parts was playing Kyle on Murphy Brown in 1989. With his portrayal of the hilariously incompetent secretary, the work started flowing. Jordan went on to star in 133 projects, and he won a Primetime Emmy for playing Beverly Leslie in Will and Grace along the way.

Most recently, Leslie Jordan tried a new acting genre by starring in a music video with country artists LoCash and Blanco Brown. The project came after he accidentally learned that people enjoyed his singing voice.

“I had a Sunday Instagram hymn singing where we would just sing these old hymns that I grew up with. And people started tuning in,” he shared. “And, somehow, from that, we decided to make an album.”

Becoming a recording artist turned out to be a final highlight in his life.

“It’s so unexpected in my 60s. I’m a country music singer now,” he said with a proud smile.

Jordan passed away on Oct. 24 following a car crash. Officials believe a heart attack led to the accident. He was 67 years old.