Home News celebrity news The Life and Legacy of Gordon Jump, the Maytag Repairman

The Life and Legacy of Gordon Jump, the Maytag Repairman

Gordon Jump
Gordon Jump

In this article, Gordon Jump was an American actor known for his varied and distinguished career across television, film and theater. He is best remembered as Arthur “Big Guy” Carlson from WKRP in Cincinnati as well as being featured as the Maytag repairman for over 10 years in numerous commercials that ran. We will explore his life and legacy, and discuss why he became such a household name.

Gordon Jump
Gordon Jump

Early Life and Career

Jump was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1932 and quickly developed an interest in broadcasting and communications at an early age, working various radio and TV stations throughout the Midwest and performing in local theater productions – where his talents were later discovered by an agent who encouraged him to pursue acting careers in Los Angeles.

Jump made his Broadway debut in 1942 and film debut in 1947, followed by television roles on Daniel Boone, Get Smart, Twilight Zone and The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 50s and 60s. Additionally he appeared in several educational and religious films produced by his new faith: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after becoming one in 1960s.

WKRP in Cincinnati

Jump’s breakthrough role came in 1978 with WKRP in Cincinnati when he was cast as Arthur Carlson, the lovable yet inept manager of an underperforming radio station. This series became immensely popular, and Jump quickly became one of its biggest fans. Later he reprised this character for The New WKRP in Cincinnati spin-off series; and enjoyed playing him because “he was such an honest, decent and caring guy”.

Maytag Repairman

Jump was chosen as the face of Maytag Appliance Company in 1989 and played the part of their Repairman until his retirement in 2003 – three actors before him had played this part: Jesse White and Hardy Rawls.

Later Years and Death

Jump continued his acting career until his death at age 71 from respiratory failure at three different marriages and four children. He is remembered fondly as both an excellent actor and kind and generous human being.


Gordon Jump was an actor whose legacy will live long in American culture. His memorable characters made people laugh and smile; while his dedication to faith, fatherhood, and husbandly duties has left a profound mark.

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