Gordon Jump

Gordon Jump

Jump in 1979
Born Alexander Gordon Jump
(1932-04-01)April 1, 1932
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Died September 22, 2003(2003-09-22) (aged 71)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1959–2003
Spouse(s) Olinda D. Kandt (1954–1962)
Anna F. Inge Jump (1963–1992)
Betty McKeever (1993–2003)

Alexander Gordon Jump (April 1, 1932 September 22, 2003) was an American actor best known as the clueless radio station manager Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson in the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati and the incompetent "Chief of Police Tinkler" in the sitcom Soap. Jump's most memorable guest starring role was on the 1980s sitcom, Diff'rent Strokes, where he portrayed a pedophile and bicycle shop owner, Mr. Horton. His character attempted to molest Arnold and his friend, Dudley. The two part episode was groundbreaking and enabled viewers to have difficult conversations on the touchy subject with their children. He also played the "Maytag Repairman" in commercials for Maytag brand appliances, from 1989 until his retirement from the role in July 2003.[1]


Early life

Born Alexander Gordon Jump, in Dayton, Ohio, Jump graduated from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, in 1955. In 1957, Jump graduated with a degree in journalism from Kansas State University, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity and worked for KSDB, the Kansas State Student Radio Station. He began his career working at radio and television stations in Manhattan and Topeka, Kansas. In Topeka he did the weather on WIBW-TV in 1959; in the early 1960s, he performed on the station's weekday after-school children's program as "Wib the Clown," then had to change clothes quickly and wipe off the clown makeup in order to report the weather on the local evening news, which followed. He later returned to Dayton and worked as a producer and on-air personality in Gordon Jump's Fun Time, a popular show for younger children, at WLWD (now WDTN) before deciding to move to Los Angeles and study acting.

Acting career

Jump first began his acting career in the 1960s with minor roles in television on such shows as Get Smart, Lancer, Here Come the Brides, and Green Acres. He also guest-starred in a number of series during the 1970s including The Rockford Files, A Touch of Grace, Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers, The Incredible Hulk (in an October 1978 episode called "Ricky"), The Lost Saucer, Starsky and Hutch, Lou Grant, Kojak, The Bionic Woman, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. He had a brief speaking role as a farmer in the 1976 television movie Sybil.

In the 1960s, Jump converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Subsequently, he acted in several church-sanctioned instructional and educational productions, including When Thou Art Converted (1967), Pioneers In Petticoats (1969) What About Thad? (1970), a marriage-advice film,[2] and as the Apostle Peter in a 1969 film used as part of the LDS temple ceremonies.[3] Jump would return to LDS films with a small role in the 2002 comedy The Singles Ward.

In 1978, he landed his signature role of Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson on the situation comedy WKRP in Cincinnati, portraying a bumbling radio station manager whose main qualification for the job is being the son of the station's owner.

After WKRP in Cincinnati folded in 1982, Jump made an appearance on a two-part episode of Diff'rent Strokes, cast as Mr. Horton, the owner of a bicycle shop who attempts to molest series protagonist Arnold Jackson and his friend, Dudley Ramsey. He later hosted the PBS series Make Yourself at Home, taught voice classes, and made frequent appearances on the hit television show Growing Pains playing Joanna Kerns's father. Jump also enjoyed working in theater.

In 1989, Jump took over the Maytag repairman role from Jesse White. In the 1990s, Jump starred in a short-lived revival of WKRP in Cincinnati entitled The New WKRP in Cincinnati. He also appeared in the ninth and final season of Seinfeld, where he played George Costanza's boss at a playground equipment company over two episodes. Jump's last movie role was in the 2004 film Changing of the Guard, released after his death.


Jump died in 2003 from pulmonary fibrosis, leading to respiratory failure at his home near Los Angeles, California.[4]

Selected filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1965 Marriage- What Kind For You? Business Man at the New Years party. LDS Church film.
1967 When Thou Art Converted Typewriter Boss and Elders Quorum President LDS Church film.
1969 Pioneers In Petticoats Papa the Farmer LDS Church film.
1969 What About Thad? Bishop of the LDS Church LDS Church film.
1969 Flareup Security Guard
1970 Ransom Money Captain Hampton
1972 Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Auctioneer
1972 Trouble Man Salter
1978 The Guilty Man in Mormon sacrament testimony meeting. LDS Church film.
1978 The Fury Mr. Nuckells
1978 Skateboard Mr. Harris
1978 House Calls Dr. O'Brien
1979 Evidence of Power Dr. Lawson
1984 Making the Grade Mr. Harriman Alternative title: The Last American Preppy
1988 Moving Simon Eberhart
1990 Honeymoon Academy Mr. Nelson Alternative title: For Better or For Worse
1999 A Dog's Tale Professor Thadeus A. Widstone
2002 The Singles Ward An Airline Passenger
2003 Dismembered (2003) Medical Examiner
Year Title Role Notes
1965 Daniel Boone Marcus Clements 1 episode
1966 Get Smart Hobson 1 episode
1967 T.H.E. Cat 1 episode
1970 Mannix Charlie 1 episode
1970–1974 The Partridge Family Man #2 / Zack Feldman / Father 7 episodes
1971 The Doris Day Show Mr. Robinson 1 episode
1972–1973 Mary Tyler Moore Show Hank Morton / Judy's Father 2 episodes
1973 A Touch of Grace Greenwald 1 episode
1973 The Paul Lynde Show Larry 1 episode
1974 Kojak Jonas 1 episode
1974 Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers Mr. Mead 1 episode
1974 The Rockford Files Freddie 1 episode
1974–1975 That's My Mama Officer O'Reilley 3 episodes
1975 The Streets of San Francisco Sergeant Lacy 1 episode
1976 The Bionic Woman Charles Butler 1 episode
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Dr. Simms 1 episode
1976 Alice Sheriff McElroy 1 episode
1976 McDuff, the Talking Dog Amos Ferguson 11 episodes
1977 Lou Grant National Editor 6 episodes
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Officer Hooper 1 episode (Nancy Drew segment)
1978–1982 WKRP in Cincinnati Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson, Station Manager 88 episodes (90 in syndication)
1979 Goldie and the Boxer Alex Television movie
1980 Mr. Krueger's Christmas Narrator Television movie
1983 Diff'rent Strokes Mr. Horton 2 episodes
1984 Night Court American agent 1 episode
1985 Tall Tales & Legends Mr. Ripple 1 episode
1986–1991 Growing Pains Ed Malone 11 episodes
1986 Simon & Simon Ross Garrett 1 episode
1986 The Golden Girls Leonard Barton 1 episode
1988 Who's the Boss? Archie 1 episode
1989 Sister Kate Lucas Underwood 1 episode
1994 Baywatch Max Edelman 2 episodes
1995 Empty Nest Bud 1 episode
1997 Married... with Children Mr. Tot 1 episode
1997 Seinfeld Mr. Thomassoulo 2 episodes
1998 Mike Hammer, Private Eye Augustus Hancock Sterling, The General 2 episodes

Gordon Jump was the surveyor on episode 9 of Green Acres 1968.


  1. Oliver, Myrna (September 24, 2003). "Gordon Jump, 71; Was 'Maytag Man' in Ads, 'Big Guy' on 'WKRP' TV Series". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  2. Marriage: What Kind for You? from IMDB
  3. Mormon Temple Film from IMDB
  4. "Gordon Jump, 71, 'WKRP' Actor Who Played Maytag's Repairman". New York Times. September 24, 2003. Retrieved 2007-07-21. Gordon Jump, who played a befuddled radio station manager on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati and made his mark in commercials as the lonely Maytag repairman, died on Monday at his home southeast of Los Angeles. He had pulmonary fibrosis.

External links

Preceded by
Jesse White
Maytag Repairman
Succeeded by
Hardy Rawls

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