September 23, 2003 by

Gordon Jump


Categories: Actors

gjump.jpgGordon Jump, a television actor and advertising icon, died on Sept. 22 from pulmonary fibrosis. He was 71.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Jump began his acting career in Kansas playing a children’s TV show host on “WIB the Clown.” In 1963, he moved to Hollywood to appear in episodes of “Get Smart” and “Green Acres.”
Jump’s big break came in 1978 when he landed the part of Arthur Carlson, the befuddled radio station manager on TV’s “WKRP in Cincinnati.” The show aired on CBS until 1982, but when it wrapped, Jump found steady work making appearances on shows like “Growing Pains,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Baywatch” and “Seinfeld.”
He was best known for spending 14 years as the Maytag repairman, “Ol’ Lonely,” in print and television ads.

24 Responses to Gordon Jump

  1. Megan McBride

    I was his great niece and I live in Kansas Cit,MO. The last time I saw him was in April when he came to Overland Park,Ks. I had lunch with my mom and his wife,Betty Jump. I was getting ready to leave when he walked in the door. He hadn’t seen me for about a year and he was very surprised at how much I grew. He asked me if I was still thinking about acting and I said maybe. I remeber giving him a hug and smelling his old spice. I still wish I would of spent more time with him. I’m trying out for a school play and I hope Uncle Jordon will be there with me every step of the way.

  2. lOUISE

    I remember when he spoke in church in Burbank, Calif. It was around 1980. Very sweet, spiritual person. He spoke of his association with the Hale Family of the Glendale Theatre, how he got his start there, and how impressed he was with the Hales. He joined the Mormon church because of their influence. I loved this man. He was a decent, wonderful man.

  3. DR

    I drive limousines in Dallas Texas. I met Mr. Jump twice in the Admiral’s Club at DFW Airport. He gave me his autograph once! What a super nice guy. One of the best celebrities I have ever met. When I told him I was just a limo driver, he corrected me to say, “that’s somebody!” He is missed!

  4. sUE

    Note to DR –
    I miss him, too.
    And yes, he was right. We are all somebody.
    Thanks for the rememberance.
    He’d be smiling at ya big “Texas” time!

  5. paul

    I was watching an episode of different strokes. Your role as Captain jack (king of the sea) with duddley was real cool. You were a funny guy. miss you

  6. Rowan

    Gordons mother (Betty) was born in Wales, UK and I am one of his first cousins still living in the UK. When my first daughter was born (1974), I received a ‘comfort blanket’for her from his family. The blanket is still being used by by grandchildren. Even though I never met him, I rember with fondness his fame.

  7. Bobbie

    While going through old moving boxes, I stumbled across a photograph of Gordon Jump dressed as Ol’ Lonely. Mr. Jump had personally autographed it for me at an appliance show in Chicago. I remember that there were many people in line to meet him. When it was my turn, I proudly announced to him that I was a design engineer for Maytag. He smiled and went to work signing the photo. With his quick wit, he wrote, ‘To My Sweet Bobbie, The only designing woman I know that can keep me lonely!’
    I had the privilege of meeting him again the year before he died, at a grand opening of a Maytag facility. I could tell that he did not feel well that day, but his health did not diminish his kindness or wit!
    Yesterday, I dusted the photo and it is now proudly displayed on my desk again.

  8. Shirley

    I met Gordon Jump only once but he left and lasting impression. It was in March 1981 in Atlanta, at a party for children with leukemia. Shirley Jones and her husband were in attendance. Mr. Jump and I were in line for a piece of Marty Ingles birthday cake. He told me about his mother and how she had breast cancer. I have never met a more gracious gentleman. The next day my daughter brought him a red camilla to the leukemia telethon. Mrs. Jump carried it around for the rest of the time.
    My daughter passed away in August, 1982 at the age of seven. She never forgot Mr. Jump.

  9. Tom McCann

    I met Gordon Jump at a Maytag store in Phoenix in the late 90’s. I was always a huge fan of WKRP and was happy to have the chance to meet him. A friend and I went to the store which was completely empty except for Mr. Jump and the sales staff. “Mr. Lonely” was quite alone. He asked the salesman to find us a couple of chairs and spent the next hour talking to us about acting, faith, golf and flying turkeys! We talked, laughed and had a heck of a good time. He asked for our contact information and asked if we would like to play golf with him next time he was in town. It never did happen; I moved from Phoenix and my buddy changed jobs, but I still proudly display my signed picture of Gordon Jump as the Maytag Repairman. What a great, genuine guy!

  10. Ed

    I’ve finally been able to track down the complete series of WKRP on DVD. As I watch the episodes and once again convulse with laughter, I think of how Mr. Jump did such a fantastic job of playing “The Big Guy. A wonderful actor who I unfortunately never had the pleasure of personally meeting. But, he, along with the rest of the great cast of WKRP will forever be in my mind the performers in the greatest sitcom to ever appear on TV. I’m sure that he is now entertaining his many colleagues who have gone before and after him in that great entertainment world beyond this one. Rest in Peace Mr. Jump and thanks for the memories.

  11. jaxson

    what a great blog. he seemed like a great guy. i love the limo guy’s entry. I’m from Texas as well. Now all the celebrities today have the attitude “Do you know who I am?”



  13. Bob Silverman

    I was a good friend of Gordon Jump. We met doing
    a play at the Glendale Center Theater Glendale, California. The play was the milky way. I played Orlov th spy and Gordon played the professor. the play wasw a huge success and Gordon and I became the best of friends. I still miss you like crazy ‘gordon and can hardly wait to see you again pretty soon. I love you Bob

  14. Bob Jump

    I may be weighing in just a little late having found this blog only today, but it’s never too late to say something nice about a guy like Gordon Jump. Interestingly enough, my name is Bob Jump, and I too, grew up just outside of Dayton, OH as Gordon did. Since the English Jump’s are all supposedly related, strangely, Gordon and I had never met. In fact, I didn’t even know he was from Dayton until I got a call one day from an ad agency in Norfolk, VA frantic that they booked Gordon for a LIVE commercial audition for a group of about 50 people when one of the creatives suddenly remembered that they had no one to interact with him. They told me who it was and I said “I’ll be over in ten minutes!” When I got to the agency, there sat a guy with a big smile and a nice handshake to go along with it. I guess we talked for roughly two to three hours before we took the stage. During that time, I really felt like we were old buddies, old pals from the past, I guess. He was as genuine as he could be. I never saw Gordon after that. However, on the plus side, I have some pretty funny pictures from the audition of us clowning around that I’ll hang onto forever.

  15. Tracy L

    I was a huge fan of WKRP, well, still am. It was one of the first shows I remember wanting to watch when I was a kid. I know he’d done a lot more acting, than as Arthur Carlson, but he, along with the entire cast, had quite an effect upon my youth. It showed how a wonderful group of people, so much unlike each other, can still care about each other. I know that it was fiction, but I could tell something about how much those people liked what they did. I miss Gordon, I miss his influence. The old guard is passing, and I am not impressed with the new.

  16. Frederick Mullen

    I have met many famous people, living in Southern California. However, when I met Gordon Jump, he impressed me as the most gracious, warm and humble. It was at the back of the Mormon (LDS) temple, approx. 1984. It was during the annual lighting of the Christmas decorations in November. My wife took a picture of me with him. He was most sincere, with a natural, affectionate hug and unassuming social discourse. He gave me attention that I did not expect. I knew right away he was special. (And I don’t use that term often.) How I wish I could have gotten to know him better. I am almost jealous of those of you who did. I am still saddened by this loss, five years after the fact.

  17. scott

    the big guy is a comic genius..those WKRP roles he took on were so genuine and he never swayed.
    His befuddled actions were just peachy!
    I don’t know much about him other than that and the Maytag gig..but may he Rest in beauty!

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