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television actor and Maytag Repair Man
Gordon Alexander Jump was born in Dayton, Ohio, on April 1, 1932. He joined the Army after high school and was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1951. He studied journalism, broadcasting and communications at Kansas Stae University, from which he graduated in 1957.
Jump's first broadcasting job was as a temporary announcer at KMAN/KMKF radio in Manhattan. Jump thought he would be good enough at the job for it to become permanent, but he was initially so bad that his boss suggested he find another line of work. His boss did, however, get him a job as an announcer and weatherman for WIBW television and radio in Topeka, where he also portrayed Win the Clown for a Saturday morning children's program. He was working on radio and television in Dayton when, in 1963, he made the move to Hollywood.
Jump began his Hollywood career working in and for a small theater in Glendale, and even though he got his fame on television his heart was forever after on the live stage. He made his first television appearance in an episode of Daniel Boone in 1965, and subsequently appeared in episodes of Get Smart, Green Acres, The Brady Bunch, Love, American Style, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Partridge Family, and many other series before being cast in the role for which he is most remembered -- Arthur Carlson in WKRP in Cincinnati, which aired from September 1978 to April 1982. During WKRP's run he also played Chief of Police Tinkler in Soap, which aired 1977-1981. Jump reprised his role of Arthur Carlson in The New WKRP in Cincinnati, which aired September 1991 to May 1993. Other series he appeared in during his career included Here Come the Brides, The Rockford Files, The Incredible Hulk, The Lost Saucer, Starsky and Hutch, Kojak, The Bionic Woman, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Diff'rent Strokes, Growing Pains, and Seinfeld.
Although Jump was primarily a television actor, he also appeared in a number of movies, including Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), Trouble Man (1972), Skateboard (1978), The Fury (1978), House Calls (1978), The Big Stuffed Dog (1981), Making the Grade (1984), Moving (1988), Honeymoon Academy (1990), Bitter Vengeance (1994), Mommy 2: Mommy's Day (1996), and The Singles Ward (2002). In 1997, Jump replaced Jesse White as the "lonely repairman" in Maytag commercials, and he continued that role until 2003. In addition to his acting career, Jump also produced The Tony Randall Show (1976) and directed one episode of WKRP (1978).
Gordon Jump died of pulmonary fibrosis on September 22, 2003; he is buried at El Toro Memorial Park in Lake Forest, California.
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This page was last updated on 06/17/2018.