Leslie Jordan's showbiz stories on Instagram go viral during coronavirus quarantine
He’s been a regular presence in film and television since the early ‘80s, but Leslie Jordan is using the current coronavirus quarantine to become the next social media superstar. Since self-isolating himself in Chattanooga, Tenn. in early March, the scene-stealing actor and author — whose credits include Will & Grace and The Help — has been posting daily Instagram videos filled with hilarious tales of his indoor life, as well as stories culled from his many years in show business. Take this account of Jordan’s stint on George Clooney’s long-forgotten CBS series, Bodies of Evidence. “I was always on a diet back then... and George got tired of hearing about it,” Jordan said, while curled up on his couch. “He went to the wardrobe people and said, ‘Take his pants out half-an-inch every day.’ I’d show up and tell everybody, ‘Look I ain’t lost pounds but I’m losing inches!’”
Eventually, another crew member tattled on Clooney’s prank, but the future ER star still denied culpability. “I said to George, ‘Did you do it?’ He said, ‘No, it was Mark Harmon that did it.’ It was George Clooney that did it, not Mark Harmon!”
Stories like that one have helped Jordan achieve viral status, attracting over two million followers to his Instagram feed. And he’s rewarded his new audience with crazy, but true memories like the time he surrendered his prison bed to future Marvel Cinematic Universe Avenger, Robert Downey Jr. Back then, Jordan admits to being a fan of the drink... so much so that it landed him inside a prison cell. Eager to get out, a kindly guard made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“He said, ‘Listen here’s what we can do,’” Jordan recalls. “We’ve got Robert Downey Jr. downstairs and we don’t really have anywhere to put him. So we’re going to let him have your bed and you’ll be out!’” That’s how Downey came to inhabit the top bunk of 152 Pod A Cell 13. “I feel responsible for most of Robert Downey Jr.’s success,” Jordan boasted. “Honey, I gave him a bed!”
Speaking of beds, Jordan is convinced that he spent several years sleeping in Tupac Shakur’s old L.A. apartment. “Back in the ‘90s, the rumor was that Tupac had lived in my building,” he said in one video, adding that one resident claimed her second-floor abode was the rapper’s home base.
But she didn’t count on Jordan playing sleuth on his own time. “I went to the post office, [but] they wouldn’t tell me exactly which apartment. I think it was mine. Because I’m such a rebel and a thug and I just feel his presence.”
Amid the tell-alls are also tales of goodwill. For example, while en route to film their roles in The Help, Jordan and Allison Janney rescued a flea-covered puppy from the side of the road and gifted it to the film’s director, Tate Taylor. After the dog kept Taylor up all night, he decided to pay the gift forward and the entire cast — including Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard — raised the funds to groom the puppy for its forever home.
“We had it groomed and gave it to this family. We paid to have it trained and we named it after Emma Stone — the dog’s name was Skeeter, that was her character in The Help.”
And in his most recent video, Jordan took time out of his quarantine to bid a fond farewell to his Will & Grace alter ego, Beverly Leslie, whose final episode airs April 9. (The series finale airs April 23.) In particular, he paid homage to his frequent verbal sparring partner, Karen Walker, played by Megan Mullally.
Reflecting on his first-ever Will & Grace appearance, Jordan recalled thinking that Mullally would be no match for his own comic brilliance. “They loaded the audience in, I came parading out and... all of a sudden a comedic tsunami smacked me. I looked at [Megan] and she looked at me and I remember thinking it’s on!” You might say that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
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