In one of Leslie Jordan's final TV appearances, the beloved comic actor teamed up with the Property Brothers stars Drew and Jonathan Scott to thank two special friends who were there for him during tough times.
The Will & Grace star returned to TV screens on Monday evening in a posthumous appearance on the Season 3 premiere of the HGTV series Celebrity IOU, in which he surprised friends Rosemary and Newell Alexander with a dramatic home renovation. Jordan, who died in a car accident at age 67 last month, chose the close friends for the home transformation as a way to say thank you for the nearly 40 years of friendship they shared. The couple befriended him soon after he arrived in Los Angeles from Chattanooga, Tenn., while he struggled with addiction issues.
"I had some struggles with alcohol, a little drug use," Jordan explained to the Property Brothers as they drove to the house. "I'm 25 years clean and sober, but they were instrumental in that too because they never judged me. They were always so supportive."
Upon arrival, Jordan explained to Rosemary and Newell through tears why he wanted them to receive the gift of an updated home.
"They said pick somebody in your past who helped you and pulled you through some hard times— I'm gonna cry — And so we're gonna redo things," he explained. "We go so far back. They're family."
Soon, Rosemary and Newell de-camped for a hotel, and Jordan shared some of the touching lessons he learned through life.
"I really found out the secret for happiness is to do for others. So I kept thinking over the years, 'You know if I ever got a chance to do something for people that were there for me that way, wouldn’t that be something?' But it never happened. Then this came together, which is pretty amazing to be approached, and asked if there was anybody I would like to give back to. I didn't hesitate. It was like, 'Yeah, Rosemary and Newell," Jordan explained.
Over the next six weeks, Jordan joined the Scott brothers in working on the home, which they nicknamed "Mom and Dad's house." Seeking to keep the cozy charm but make it more functional, Jordan even joined in on the heavy labor, helping to remove the dated brick fireplace.
"To be able to give this back to them is such an amazing feeling," he shared. "They better invite me over."
When the home was finished, Rosemary and Newell's response to the stunning transformation was one of complete shock.
"I can't wait to have a party. Have the fireplace going. To me, that just says home, family and warmth," said Rosemary. "This is the most wonderful gift that anybody has ever given me. Thank you."
Before the episode began, Drew and Jonathan Scott appeared on camera to share a touching remembrance for Jordan.
"Working with him on Celebrity IOU wasn't just a highlight for the show, but really of our careers," Jonathan said.
"Just the most gracious and kind human being who you’d ever meet and he was over the moon to give back to Rosemary and Newell, who are in the episode you're about to watch. He lived his entire life with the same loving gratitude for everyone he came in contact with," Drew concluded. "Leslie, we miss you very much."
The program ended with a touching epilogue that read: "Leslie Jordan: 1955-2022."
As the program ran, fans took to social media to remember Jordan and his unabashed joy at helping others.
Watching Leslie Jordan on Celebrity IOU is so lovely - it is fitting that his last tv appearance is giving back to others. We truly lost a very bright light.
— Charlotte 🇺🇦 (@cmhouston2008) November 15, 2022
@hgtv @PropertyBrother Tonight's ep of #CelebrityIOU was so amazing to watch. I'm so glad Leslie Jordan did this renovation for his friends.
I wish Leslie could have spend more time on this Earth. He sounded like a great person to hang out with. 😢
Rest in peace Leslie.❤️
— Sarah J. (@sareja86) November 15, 2022
— Gregory G. Allen (@GregoryGAllen) November 15, 2022
— Ali Rastiello (@Diva_Ali) November 15, 2022
— JMH13748 (@JohnHobarth) November 15, 2022
— Bonnie O’Brien Boone (@bbcatlady15) November 15, 2022