The world has suddenly lost yet another multi-talented artist of the stage and the screen. On Monday, October 24, 2022, Leslie Jordan passed away at the age of 67 due to a car accident in Los Angeles — the cause of which still has yet to be determined.
The Emmy-winning actor and LGBTQ+ icon — whom some may also remember as an Academy Award nominations announcer from earlier this year — leaves behind a memorable legacy of stealing the show from his co-stars with his warm and exuberant presence in various titles from nearly the last 40 years. We honor his storied and tragically shortened career by looking back at our picks for the best Leslie Jordan movies and TV shows, along with the information you need to know how to watch them on streaming, as a digital rental, or on physical media.
The Help (2011)
Fed up with her town’s racist ideologies, a young, ambitious writer (Academy Award winner Emma Stone) seeks to pen a book about local, white housewives from the perspective of the Black maids who work for them (Oscar winners Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer) in 1960s Mississippi.
Why it is one of the best Leslie Jordan movies: One of Leslie Jordan’s most memorable, scene-stealing roles in a motion picture was Mr. Blackly — the eccentric boss of Emma Stone’s character, Skeeter, who hires her to write an advice column for the local newspaper — in writer and director Tate Taylor’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s novel, The Help.
Will & Grace (2001-2020)
A straight, female interior designer (Debra Messing) and her best friend — a gay, male lawyer (Eric McCormack) — share an apartment in New York City where they run into various funny situations with their friends, the flamboyant Jack (Sean Hayes) and the filthy rich Karen (Megan Mullally).
Why it is one of the best Leslie Jordan TV shows: One of Leslie Jordan’s most memorable, scene-stealing recurring roles on a TV show was Beverley Leslie — a staunchly conservative socialite who fervently denies he is gay despite many hints to the contrary — on Will & Grace, which is what earned him his Emmy Award in 2006.
Boston Legal (2005)
Although his methods are ethically questionable, Alan Shore (Emmy winner James Spader, reprising his role from The Practice) becomes a successful partner at a Boston law firm with the help of his friend, and a veteran of the field, Denny Crane (Emmy winner William Shatner).
Why it is one of the best Leslie Jordan TV shows: Another acclaimed recurring TV role on Leslie Jordan’s resume was Bernard Ferrion — a man with a notorious history for murdering people by striking them with frying pans — on Boston Legal, which is one of a few TV series created by David E. Kelley that the actor also appeared on, including Ally McBeal and Boston Public.
The United States Vs. Billie Holiday (2021)
A talented jazz singer (Andra Day) struggles to overcome her own crippling addiction and fight for the right to perform her legendary song, “Strange Fruit,” which condemns America’s history of lynching people of color.
Why it is one of the best Leslie Jordan movies: A feature-length legal drama featuring Leslie Jordan — as a journalist named Reginald Lord Devine, who interviews the titular songstress — is director Lee Daniels’ revealing biopic, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, for which chart-topping singer Day received an Academy Award nomination.
Stream The United States Vs. Billie Holiday on Hulu (opens in new tab).
Goodbye Lover (1998)
A real estate agent (Patricia Arquette) and her husband (Dermot Mulroney) conspire to murder her lover and his brother (Don Johnson) for insurance money, which puts them hot on the trail of a no-nonsense detective (Ellen DeGeneres).
Why it is one of the best Leslie Jordan movies: A movie that fuses crime drama with high-brow comedy is director Roland Joffé’s Goodbye Lover, which features Leslie Jordan in a small role amid a star-studded cast that also includes Mary-Louise Parker, and Deadwood’s Ray McKinnon.
Buy Goodbye Lover on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon (opens in new tab).
American Horror Story (2013-2019)
A gifted young woman discovers the cutthroat world of witchcraft when she joins a New Orleans-based coven, victims of a haunting return to the original site with actors who played them in a hit TV reenactment, and a killer stalks a group of youths at a summer camp in the mid-1980s are just some of the stories depicted in this terrifying seasonal anthology series.
Why it is one of the best Leslie Jordan TV shows: Leslie Jordan stole the show multiple times on one of the best horror TV shows on Hulu, American Horror Story — first in season three (Coven) as a Witches’ Council member, then in season six (Roanoke) as an actor playing a medium, and lastly in Season 9 (1984) as the personal assistant to Leslie Grossman’s character.
Stream American Horror Story on Hulu (opens in new tab).
Stream American Horror Story on Amazon Prime (opens in new tab).
Buy American Horror Story: Coven on Blu-ray on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Buy American Horror Story: Roanoke on Blu-ray on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1991)
After an elaborate plan to finally kill Jason Voorhees once and for all proves successful, it is soon discovered that — by some strange, supernatural means — not even can death stop the notorious murderer.
Why it is one of the best Leslie Jordan movies: His roles on American Horror Story were not Leslie Jordan’s first experiences with the horror genre, as he also played a diner employee named Shelby in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, which was not the last of the Friday the 13th movies as initially promised, but is probably the funniest of the bunch.
Stream Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
Rent/buy Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday digitally on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Buy Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday on DVD on Amazon (opens in new tab).
The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (2018)
A man (Ian Ziering) reunites with his friends and family to hatch an elaborate plan to prevent a deadly, recurring storm of strong winds and hungry aquatic beasts from ever happening by traveling back in time to when the bizarre event first occurred.
Why it is one of the best Leslie Jordan movies: Another horror-centric title on Leslie Jordan’s resume — in which he plays Benjamin Franklin — is the also (more intentionally) funny The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time, which is, indeed, the final installment of Syfy’s franchise of ridiculous creature features…for now, at least.
Stream The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time on Amazon Prime (opens in new tab).
Buy The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time on Blu-ray on Amazon (opens in new tab).
The Cool Kids (2018-2019)
A close-knit group of senior citizens (David Alan Grier, Martin Mull, and Leslie Jordan) abruptly become acquainted with a new resident of their retirement community (Vickie Lawrence) who is even more rebellious than they are.
Why it is one of the best Leslie Jordan TV shows: The same year he appeared in The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time, Jordan landed the starring role of the older, but still lively and flamboyant, Sid alongside a cast of fellow funny legends on Fox’s The Cool Kids — co-creators Charlie Day and Paul Fruchbom’s short-lived, but well-liked, sitcom that celebrates those who continue to hold onto their youth no matter what.
Buy The Cool Kids digitally on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Sordid Lives (2000)
The death of their matriarch brings a Texas family back together and forces them to confront their own deepest secrets and insecurities as well as their frustrations with one another.
Why it is one of the best Leslie Jordan movies: Perhaps the funniest movie that Leslie Jordan is well known for is writer and director Del Shores’ own star-studded, cinematic adaptation of his satirical, Southern-fried play, Sordid Lives, in which the actor plays a drag queen who bases his look off of country music legend Tammy Wynette.
Stream Sordid Lives on Hulu (opens in new tab).
Stream Sordid Lives on Tubi.
Rent/buy Sordid Lives digitally on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Buy Sordid Lives on DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Call Me Kat (2021-2022)
A single, middle-aged, and enchantingly eccentric woman (Mayim Bialik) takes a sum of money that her parents intended to use for her wedding to open up a restaurant for cat lovers.
Why it is one of the best Leslie Jordan TV shows: A couple of years after The Cool Kids was cancelled, Leslie Jordan was cast in a main role on another Fox sitcom called Call Me Kat — star and executive producer Mayim Bialik’s adaptation of the British comedy Miranda — as the title character’s friend and employee, Phil.
Like many others who worked with him, Mayim Bialik went to social media to share thoughts about her Call Me Kat co-star and announce the series will pause production in light of his passing. The Jeopardy! host said it is “inconceivable to imagine a world without Leslie.” I think we can all agree that things will be different and, especially, a little less bright without a one-of-kind personality like Leslie Jordan.