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For Leslie Jordan, Chattanooga’s - And UTC’s - Own

Leslie Jordan, from his Instagram video for UTC students in 2020.
thelesliejordan / Instagram
Leslie Jordan, from his Instagram video for UTC students in 2020.

Leslie Jordan was as beloved as he was Chattanooga’s own.

The actor and singer - who won an Emmy for his role on TV’s “Will and Grace” - died yesterday in a car crash in Hollywood. He was 67.

During the pandemic, Leslie became a social media star with his videos on Instagram.

A gay man who grew up in this Southern city and who would return frequently to visit family, he was for years a champion of people living with HIV - and the work of what is now Cempa Community Care.

And this past summer, Leslie was grand marshal for the Riverbend Festival.

He was also a member of the theater alumni community on our campus, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga - and early in the pandemic, he comforted and encouraged students on Instagram.

Last year, Leslie Jordan released “Company’s Comin’” - a gospel album featuring duets with some of the greatest names in country music.

At the end of a rendition of "I'll Fly Away" on the album, you can hear Jordan say of the song: "It had heart" - and one of the singers reply, "It did have heart."

It did have heart.

So did Leslie Jordan - did he ever…

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