He’s a queer one, Leslie Jordan

Leslie Jordan

If Leslie Jordan did not exist, John Waters would have invented him. The 4’11” actor, with a Southern drawl like Huckleberry Hound’s gay brother, defies all traditional casting types, so Hollywood writers simply create roles for him.

On “Will & Grace” he played Karen Walker’s arch enemy Beverley Leslie. On “Boston Legal” he was the mousy Bernard Ferrion, who conked his aged mother to death with a frying pan only to suffer the same fate at the hands of Betty White.

“You finally get a wonderful gig with the best writer in town [David E. Kelley], and then they whack you,” he says. Jordan explains that Betty White (who’s still going strong at 87) was at first concerned about hurting him when they filmed the scene. “It was a rubber frying pan and there was a rubber mat on the floor, but she walloped me so hard I splattered across the mat!”

With film credits that include “Sissy Frenchfry,” “Farm Sluts” and “Frankenstein General Hospital,” Jordan’s resume will never be mistaken for that of Sir Ian McKellen. His film oeuvre does beg the question of if he’s ever said, “No, that role’s just not dignified enough for me.”

“Never,” he says. “On my last ‘Will & Grace’ they had me wearing stretch Wranglers with a rhinestone cowgirl shirt and a ten gallon hat like Deputy Dawg. Megan Mullally said to me, ‘Is this the lowest you’ve gone?’ and I said, ‘Oh honey, no.’”Leslie Jordan Will & Grace

“Now that I’ve got a little money I’ll turn down some TV, but you never know with film. I did a lot of A.F.I. student films. I played Ed Asner’s gay lover in one of them. Ed said you should always do A.F.I. films because you never know who’s going to be the next Spielberg.”

On the street, Jordan is often recognized for his roles on “Will and Grace” and “Boston Legal,” but his most ardent fans revere him for his role as Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram, who thinks he’s Tammy Wynette, in the film and TV series “Sordid Lives.”

“If they know that film they are rabid!” he exclaims. “When I go to Palm Springs you’d think I was Madonna!”

Jordan has written the memoir My Trip Down the Pink Carpet and he tours the country with his one-man shows “Like a Dog on Linoleum” and “Full of Gin and Regret.”

He attributes part of his current success to timing. “It’s a great time to be gay,” he says. “We’re on the cusp of the greatest civil rights movement since the ‘60s. And in entertainment? I’m a 54 year old queen and all of a sudden they want me for everything!”

Leslie Jordan in "Sordid Lives"

Leslie Jordan in "Sordid Lives"

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