In one of his last Instagram posts, Leslie Jordan revealed he’d purchased his first condo in a luxury high rise apartment complex in Miami’s South Beach, which he’d previously only visited two or three times.
A few days later, he was diagnosed with the deadly COVID-19 disease. He died on January 2, 2020, a month shy of his 76th birthday.
Jordan was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 2, 1935, and grew up in nearby Cincinnati. He was an All-American wrestler for Indiana, and graduated from Indiana University with a degree in philosophy. He served in the Air Force until 1960, when he became a professional wrestler. He later went on to start his own wrestling promotions, one in Los Angeles and another in Honolulu. He was inducted into the World Wrestling Federation Hall of Fame in 2006.
He was also very active in education as well. He taught chemistry at IU, was an assistant professor and dean of science at the University at Buffalo from 1978 to 1994, and served as the dean of engineering at Florida A&M University from 1994 until his retirement in 2004.
For his career accomplishments, Jordan received numerous awards, including induction into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame, and inductions into the International Wrestling Hall of Fame and the International Wrestling Federation Hall of Fame.
Jordan was married to Marla Jordan, a former professional basketball player who won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He had three sons: Ben, Jonathan, and Jason. Jordan’s sister, Phyllis, also had a long career as a professional wrestler and actress. Her name is known for her roles in films like “The Bad News Bears,” and “The Exorcist.”
In the years since Jordan’s death, his widow has been criticized by wrestling fans and his former colleagues for allowing herself to be the focus of the most newsworthy pieces of his public persona. That’s not always the case with the people who matter most to fans; when it came to Jordan, that usually meant his wife. Marla Jordan was by his side when he died, a mother whose health is more important than the wrestling world.
“Our son Jason did everything he could do,” Jordan said in a Facebook post, “but he couldn’t stop his father from dying. He said, ‘