'Call Me Kat' Makes Casting Decision After Leslie Jordan's Death

Call Me Kat producers have made a big casting decision, following the death of Leslie Jordan, one of the show's beloved stars. Deadline reports that Emmy Award-winning actress Vicki Lawrence (Mama's Family, The Carol Burnett Show) will guest star in an upcoming episode of Call Me Kat, playing Lurlene Crumpler, the mother of Jordan's character, Phil Crumpler. Lurlene is described as "a no-nonsense woman who fills in as the cafe's baker while he's on vacation." Jordan and Lawrence previously worked together on another Fox sitcom, The Cool Kids, which followed the lives of a senior citizen group living together in a retirement home.

"Leslie's death absolutely affected the storylines," series executive producer Maria Ferrari told Deadline. "We can exclusively confirm that Phil's mother will be featured in an episode that we're shooting right now. We cast Leslie's friend Vicki Lawrence in the role." Executive producer Jim Patterson added, "The first person we thought of to play his mom- who is a character in and of herself- was Vicki Lawrence. They had that Cool Kids connection and she's amazing and so funny. We mentioned it and, God bless her, she didn't hesitate; she said yes right away. We know the spirit of Phil will certainly be with her. It's going to be fun to have that character doing some of the same in-jokes we did when Phil was there."

Jordan died on Oct. 24, with TMZ reporting that the actor was involved in a car accident. No official cause of death has been announced but, according to TMZ, Jordan is said to have "suffered some sort of medical emergency." This may have caused him to crash his BMW into the side of a building in Hollywood. 

Following his death, it was reported that Jordan had complained he was experiencing shortness of breath. Sources close to Jordan have stated that his health was enough of a concern that he'd scheduled an appointment to meet with a cardiologist. The outlet also noted that, while no cause of death has been announced, some first responders believed that Jordan may have suffered a heart attack.


Authorities released a 911 call made from the scene of Jordan's crash, and the audio reveals some minor details about the tragic incident. According to ET — which obtained the recording — a bystander called for help, telling the 911 operator, "There's a man in a four-door BMW, in a grey vehicle, that crashed against the building." The caller also explained, "There's other people trying to open the car door and to get this gentleman out." The outlet also noted that Jordan was reportedly not breathing when first responders arrived. The actor was 67 years old at the time of his death.