Leslie Jordan demise: Read the actor’s greatest interview quotes

The late Leslie Jordan was many issues to many individuals: a comic, a personality actor, an beginner musician, an Instagram sensation, a homosexual icon.

To the Los Angeles Instances, which interviewed the beloved entertainer on a number of events all through the years, he was a quote machine at all times good for a juicy Hollywood anecdote or a captivating flip of phrase.

The Tennessee-born performer, recognized for his roles in “Will & Grace” and “American Horror Story,” died Monday after crashing his BMW right into a constructing at Cahuenga Boulevard and Romaine Road in Hollywood. He was 67.

Listed below are a few of the entertainer’s musings on his private life and profession, as informed to The Instances in his immediately recognizable voice in interviews courting to 1994.

On chasing his desires in L.A.

“I couldn’t decide where I wanted to go, New York or Los Angeles. But I decided that if I was going to starve, it would be with a tan,” Jordan mentioned in April 1994. “I hit town when that … white-trash-from-the-hills look was in and, boy, did I have that!”

“When I got off the bus in 1982, I had $1,200. I came from Tennessee to L.A., and I had a little bit of money and I had my degree in theater,” Jordan mentioned in April 2021. “I couldn’t pronounce it. I called it ‘THEE-ate-er.’ So I had a list of what I wanted to achieve. I wanted to be in movies and TV, but this was so far off the radar. It’s not like I sit and think, ‘What’s the next big challenge?’ It has just always happened for me. I’ve had a really blessed career. I’m just along for the ride.”

On beginning his profession as a business actor

“I did Aunt Jemima Lite Syrup, I was the Pip boy for years, I started the Del Taco ‘Same time, same place’ bit . . . I was always the bellhop, the busboy, the window washer,” Jordan mentioned in 1994. “I worked left and right until the beautiful people came back.”

“I was the elevator operator that went to Hamburger Hell, where you went if you didn’t eat Taco Bell,” Jordan mentioned in January 2021. “People knew me.”

On being a personality actor

“I was never going to be Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro, who can disappear into a character — I’m just not that kind of actor,” Jordan mentioned in January 2021. “There’s a lot of me to disappear into. I’m more like a Dolly Parton, you know what I mean? There’s a lot of me.”

On his voice

“I don’t like my voice. At all. Because I’ve got that accent, you know? And I’m not talking about my Southern accent,” Jordan mentioned in April 2021. “If you had any doubt about me, when I open my mouth 50 yards of purple chiffon come out.”

On representing and regarding the LGBTQ+ group

“I think I have a message to that young gay man or that young gay woman out in our hinterland,” Jordan mentioned in November 2004. “They’re wondering, as I wondered, first of all, will they ever find their tribe? … And secondly, is there a God that loves them?”

“I am, without a doubt, the gayest man I know,” Jordan mentioned in Could 2008.

On capturing a wild ‘American Horror Story’ scene with Girl Gaga

“She was supposed to straddle me and cut my throat,” Jordan mentioned in January 2021. “You’re just thinking, ‘How did I get in this situation?’”

On turning into Instagram well-known throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

“A friend of mine called from California and said, ‘You have gone viral.’ And I said, ‘No, honey, I’m fine. I don’t have COVID,’” Jordan mentioned in January 2021. “I don’t know how I did it because now I scramble for content. … Every day, I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God! I need to post. What should I come up with?’”

Leslie Jordan, photographed in Los Angeles in 2021, died Monday.

(Damian Dovarganes / Related Press)

“Travis and I have been friends for years and years, and we took similar journeys through the church,” Jordan mentioned in April 2021. “Mine was because I was gay. I didn’t feel embraced by [it]. How do you embrace something that doesn’t embrace you? It was never ugly. There was never a big ax to grind. I just wandered away, and that was that.

“But I grew up in the church. We went to church every time the doors opened. Travis did too. So we started doing hymns on Sundays. And the response from Instagram was huge: There would be thousands of comments, with people saying, ‘It brings me such comfort.’ Or, ‘I’m an atheist, but I still want to hear this music.’ So I thought, you know what, whether you’re raised Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, whatever, this music, you could draw some comfort from it.”

On singing in choirs as a child

“I can’t really read sheet music or anything like that, but I sang growing up,” Jordan mentioned in April 2021. “I loved that Rolling Stone said, ‘His voice is capable.’ [Laughs] But you know what? I had no fear. I think that comes from the choir. We were always told, ‘You’re just singing for the Lord. So just sing.’”

A man with white hair and black glasses smiling and wearing a suit

Leslie Jordan attends the 2018 PaleyFest in Beverly Hills.

(Richard Shotwell / Invision / Related Press)

On his style in music

“I have always liked girl singers and girl groups, the Ronettes and all of that,” Jordan mentioned in April 2021.

“I’m into S&M: Streisand and Midler. Oh, and I loved Laura Nyro. I’ve gotten so reclusive about music now, though. I couldn’t name a Billie Eilish song. That’s terrible. I used to keep up. I knew what was on the radio.”

“It took two things. They said, ‘Mayim Bialik’ and ‘a room full of cats in a cat cafe,’ [and] I said, ‘I’m aboard,’” Jordan mentioned in January 2021. “I loved [Bialik] from the moment I saw her in ‘Beaches’ playing a baby Bette Midler.”

On making his 2021 nation gospel album

“I said, ‘I want it to be called “Company’s Comin’,”’ and I need it to sound like once I was a child, my uncle and cousin would seize their banjos and guitars and we might simply sit at household reunions and sing,” Jordan mentioned in April 2021. “We had a lot of songs, but it always ended up with the hymns. I’m so glad that you felt that because one of our executive producers, Mike Lotus, said, ‘Why do you talk? You shouldn’t talk when Brandi Carlile is about to sing.’ And I said, ‘Oh, you don’t understand. That’s so part of the church. We would talk out and shout out.’”

On assembly Dolly Parton

“I had wanted to meet Dolly since I first saw her in [the early ‘70s],” Jordan mentioned in April 2021. “I told her when I finally met her that I drove all the way to Sevierville [Parton’s Tennessee hometown] from Chattanooga. I heard she was going to appear in her high school auditorium. She’s been on my wish list to meet, and over the years I’ve gotten friendly with Steve Summers [Parton’s creative director].

“I was in Nashville and he said, ‘Dolly is at a studio very near you if you’d like to come up.’ I couldn’t even breathe. I went over there and she was all dolled up for a Christmas special that she did. And we sat there and even though we were masked and socially distant, we just glommed on to one another. And people said, ‘What’s she like?’ Well, you know exactly what she’s like. You don’t have to meet her to know what she’s like. I just adored her.”

On Monday, Parton was among the many many fellow entertainers who paid tribute to Jordan on social media.

“Leslie and I had a special bond, and I think the world felt they had a special bond with him,” she wrote in a press release. “He will be missed by everyone who knew him personally and by everyone who was entertainment by him. Rest in peace lil’ brother.”

On his journey to sobriety and self-acceptance

“All of a sudden, you took away this medicine that I had sort of anesthetized myself with, and I was riddled with internal homophobia,” Jordan mentioned in November 2004. “If you had asked me at 42 years of age, when I got sober, ‘Are you a proud gay man?’ I would say, ‘Honey, I’ve ridden on floats.’ But I was loaded the whole time!”

“My journey into sobriety, but more importantly, my journey into queerdom, was from the time I was 42 ’til now,” Jordan mentioned in January 2021.

“During my 22 years in recovery, we’re required to write a lot about things and do a lot of work,” Jordan mentioned in April 2021. “Happiness is a habit. It’s a choice. It’s something that you have to work for. … I was baptized 14 times. Every time I’d go up there, the preacher, Brother Baker, would say, ‘I believe I baptized you in the revival this summer.’ I said, ‘I don’t think it took.’ I had so many secrets and so much shame, and all that’s gone now.

“I had a very wise man in recovery who was my sponsor and he died this year. I said to him, ‘When I go home, my mother sometimes wants me to go to church.’ And he said, ‘Go to church. When you hear something that works for you, garner that. Keep that. But if you go, ‘Oh, please! [when something bothers you], put it under the pew in front of you because that could be the kernel of truth that someone else needs.’ So I’ve left a lot of stuff in the pew in front of me.”

On attaining his desires

“I’m in actor heaven.”