Thursday, August 11, 2016

Alexander Gordon Jump 1932 - 2003

1.  Spouse: Anna Jump (m. 1963–1992)3 children (Cindy Jump, Kiva Jump, and Maggie-Jo Jump)
 2.  Betty Jump second wife

 (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]

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.

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) [1] 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]

An avuncular television actor best remembered as the befuddled, middle-aged-but-childlike radio station boss Arthur "the Big Guy" Carlson in the television series "WKRP in Cincinnati," Gordon Jump also had success in his golden years as the second actor to portray Maytag advertising icon "Ol' Lonely," the hapless repairman with nothing to do.

The actor unknowingly had prepped for his best-known role as Mr. Carlson in real life. Born in Dayton, Ohio, near Cincinnati, he wanted to be an actor from the time he saw his first B-western movie as a kid. Jump majored in speech at Kansas State University and worked at began his career working in small radio and television stations in Topeka, Kansas, and in Ohio, where he hosted a children's show, delivered weather reports, and wrote and produced various segments and shows. Despite the continuing protestations of his father, a failed actor who had directed him in high school plays, Jump never abandoned his aspirations to act, and in 1963, already into his 30s, Jump moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of acting. He landed a few roles in small theaters, then a commercial, and in 1965 a guest spot on the television series "Daniel Boone." Roles followed over the years in dozen of popular series, from comedies like "Get Smart" "Green Acres" and "The Brady Bunch" to dramas like "The Rockford Files," "Kojak" and "The Bionic Woman." He would have a recurring role on the MTM drama "Lou Grant" as the newspaper's national editor throughout 1977, a role and an association which would lead to his most beloved character.

Jump hit a career high when he was cast as the bumbling but loveable Carlson of MTM's ultra-hip sit-com "WKRP in Cincinnati" (CBS, 1978 to 1982), where his character was a reluctant radio exec and fearful momma's boy who enjoyed simpler pursuits such as toy trains and fly fishing, yet nevertheless served as a father figure for his zany staff. The sitcom about the fourth-rate radio station, which also starred Howard Hesseman and Loni Anderson, ran on and enjoyed many years in syndication. In the series' most well-remembered episode, it was Jump's well-meaning Carlson who conceived a WKRP promotional stunt to drop live turkeys from a helicopter at Thanksgiving; when disaster followed, it was he who uttered the oft-quoted line: "God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." Jump was also one of only three of the ensemble cast who returned for a syndicated revival, "The New WKRP in Cincinnati" from 1991 to 1993.

After "WKRP's" cancellation, Jump continued to be a regular presence on series television, guest-starring on dozens of popular shows. In 1983, in a daring career turn, he portrayed Mr. Horton, a bicycle-shop owner and child molester who assaulted Arnold (Gary Coleman) in the series "Diff'rent Strokes," in a personal effort to raise awareness of the problem. From 1986 to 1991 he took a recurring role on the family sit-com "Growing Pains" (ABC, 1985-1992), appearing as Kirk Cameron's grandfather Ed Malone, and later he had brief recurring stints on "Baywatch" and "Seinfeld."

Jump also was in motion pictures -- remembered as the auctioneer in the 1972 sequel "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" and as a fellow doctor of Walter Matthau's in 1978's "House Calls." He also made educational films and documentaries for his Mormon church, and worked at odd jobs such as being a tour guide at Forest Lawn cemetery.

Before "WKRP" made him a household face, and long before he took on Maytag ads, he maintained a steady income by appearing in over 100 commercials. In 1989, Jump replaced Jesse White (who initiated the part in 1967) as the highly recognized spokesman for Maytag. White had originated the role of the uniformed serviceman Ol' Lonely, one of the longest-running characters in advertising history, who feels lonely because the company's appliances are so reliable that owners never call for help. Jump was the Maytag man in television and print ads, on billboards and at about 40 store openings and trade shows annually until July 2003, when he relinquished the role to character actor Hardy Rawls, just a few months before his death in Sept. 2003 at age 71.

Jump was man to call for local fund-raisers

September 27, 2003
Glendale civic and philanthropic organizations lost a friend and a
faithful fund raiser with the death Monday of actor Gordon Jump,
who aided multiple local causes during his many years as a Glendale resident.

For more than a quarter of a century, Jump was the celebrity to
call, whether it was for National Charity League auctions, Boy Scout
functions, Red Cross events or a PTA spaghetti dinner at Mark Keppel
Elementary School. He gave freely of his time and talents to this
community, and even after moving to Orange County a decade ago, he
continued to be involved in Glendale activities and respond to calls
from local groups.

His efforts as an auctioneer and host help raised thousands of
dollars for many Glendale organizations, and he was a frequent
speaker at Kiwanis, Rotary and other groups. He was active as a
teacher and a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints here.

Professionally, he was highly visible in recent years as the
lonely Maytag repairman, appearing in commercials and ads for that
company from 1989 until his retirement last July. Life-size cutouts
of him stood by Maytag appliances in stores across the country.
On television, Jump starred as the befuddled radio station manager
on the CBS sitcom, "WKRP in Cincinnati" from 1978-82, and was seen in
guest roles in scores of other TV series and movies, as well as

However, his first love was the theater, and he got his start as
an actor at the Glendale Centre Theatre, after moving here from Ohio
in 1963. He subsequently appeared in many Glendale Centre Theatre

Jump was 71 when he died Monday at his home in Cota de Coza in
Orange County. He suffered from pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring of the
air sacs of the lungs, which leads to heart or respiratory failure.
His former wife, Anna Jump of Glendale, survives him, as do their
children, Cynthia Jump of Sunnyvale, Kiva Jump of Glendale and New
York City, Maggi-jo Jump Ayranjian of Glendale; two grandchildren,
Autumn Simpson and Elias Ayranjian, of Glendale; a great
granddaughter, Alex Simpson of Glendale; a niece, Tess Johnson of
Glendale, and other local family members.

He also is survived by wife Betty Jump of Casa de Coza and her
children, Laura Ream and Christopher McKeever; and by a brother, Jeff
Jump of North Carolina.

Even with his passing, Gordon Jump leaves a legacy of caring and
giving. The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, donations be
made to the Children's AIDS Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles,
in memory of a young Glendale lad, AIDS victim Alan Ritchie, who was
his friend.

Jump's funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Santa
Margarita Ward of the Latter-day Saints Church in Rancho Santa