The late Leslie Jordan's road to fame wound its way through Lexington 'on a whim'
Fans are remembering Will & Grace actor and Tennessee native Leslie Jordan, who died Monday in a car accident in Los Angeles. But the jockey-sized jokester had some Kentucky connections as well.
A Chattanooga native, Leslie Jordan may be best known for his time under the spotlight in television – and more recently, on TikTok – but before he brought his unique charm to show business, he made a stop in Lexington.
With the build of a jockey, Jordan had an early itch to get involved with horseracing. After working in the horse industry, he told WUKY in a 2008 interview that the pressure to get an education crept in.
"And then it reached a point I wanted to go back to school. I thought now where can I go and go to school and still work with the horses, and I thought Lexington. And I just came on a whim. I didn't know anyone."Actor Leslie Jordan in 2008
Jordan attended the University of Kentucky in 1979, studying in the College of Communications for a year. He briefly worked on a farm owned by Brereton Jones, who would become Kentucky’s governor about a decade later. At that time, Jordan said his career path was anything but certain.
"A good time was had by all. I'd take classes. I was a journalism major. I wanted to write, had no aspirations to act at that point," Jordan remembered, adding that he saw "lots of plays" at UK's Guignol Theatre.
Jordan passed away Monday at 67, prompting an outpouring of tributes from fans who praised the joy he brought to the screen and stage.
Hear the full interview here.