Gordon Jump

Gordon Jump
Gordon Jump (1979).jpg
Jump in 1979
Alexander Gordon Jump

(1932-04-01)April 1, 1932
DiedSeptember 22, 2003(2003-09-22) (aged 71)
Alma materKansas State University
Years active1959–2003
  • Olinda D. Kandt
    (m. 1954; div. 1962)
  • Anna F. Inge Jump
    (m. 1963; div. 1992)
  • Betty McKeever
    (m. 1993)

Alexander Gordon Jump (April 1, 1932 – September 22, 2003) was an American actor. He was best known for playing Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson in the series WKRP in Cincinnati (1978–1982), which he reprised in its spin-off The New WKRP in Cincinnati (1991–1993). He also played Chief Tinkler in the sitcom Soap (1977–1978) and Mr. Horton on a two-part episode of the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes (1983). He appeared in Maytag commercials as the "Maytag repairman" from 1989 until his retirement in 2003.

Early life

Born Alexander Gordon Jump, Jump was raised in Centerville, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. Jump graduated from Centerville High School and enrolled in Otterbein College. After his first year, Jump transferred to Kansas State University, where he studied broadcasting and communications and was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. Jump got his first job in the broadcasting industry with WIBW-TV in Topeka. There, he dabbled in "writing, producing, and directing".: 17  Jump was the title character in WIBW's "WIB the Clown" production, an educational children's program. Jump reported the weather on the same channel, and was not always able to get his clown makeup off in time.

In September 1961, he returned to Dayton and joined WLWD as the station's director of special broadcast services. He continued as a producer and on-air personality at WLWD, hosting Gordon Jump's Fun Time, a popular show for younger children, and High Time, a variety series, before moving to Los Angeles in 1963 to pursue acting.: 17  Later in his life, Jump converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).: 1  In addition, Jump was a self-described "lifelong Republican".


Jump's acting career began at age 32. Jump participated in a theatre production at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale, California, where he was noticed and offered an agent.: 1  The theatre was owned by Nathan and Ruth Hale, who were members of the LDS Church. It was there that Jump first learned about the LDS Church.

Jump's first break on television was his guest role as Marcus Clements in CBS's Daniel Boone,: 18  where he had eight lines.: 1  During the 1960s, he landed minor roles in television on such shows as Get Smart, Lancer, Here Come the Brides, and Green Acres. He guest-starred in a number of series during the 1970s and through the 1990s.

In the 1960s, Jump converted to the LDS Church. Subsequently, he acted in several church-produced instructional and educational productions, including When Thou Art Converted (1967), Pioneers In Petticoats (1969), and What About Thad? (1970),. In 1967, he played the role of Lehi in the Burbank pageant People of the Book. He also appeared as the apostle Peter in a 1969 film used as part of the church's temple ceremonies. Jump would return to church-related films with a small role in the 2002 comedy The Singles Ward. Jump and Robert Starling, an independent filmmaker, founded Associated Latter-day Media Artists (ALMA) together.

Jump's first recurring role came in 1977, as Chief of Police Tinkler in Soap.: 18  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.: iii  Jump stated that the character of Arthur Carlson was based on a real-world WQXI executive.: 7 

After WKRP in Cincinnati folded in 1982, Jump made an appearance on a two-part episode of Diff'rent Strokes, titled "The Bicycle Man". He played Mr. Horton, the owner of a bicycle shop who attempts to molest series protagonist Arnold Jackson and his friend, Dudley. While his Los Angeles Times obituary called this role a "daring career turn", Genevieve Koski at the AV Club's roundtable found the laugh track that played during the scene in which the boys see nude photographs "horrifying". Koski's fellow roundtable member Donna Bowman disagreed, stating that the special humanized the situation.

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, in which 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 on September 22, 2003, from pulmonary fibrosis that led to respiratory failure at his home near Los Angeles, California.


Jump believed the film and television industry to be "the most powerful tool" that can both "communicate" and "give... a positive outlook of life to many people.": 1  According to his personal religious faith, Jump also believed theatre and television had the ability to uplift and edify individuals and speculated that God uses a similar medium to guide his children.: 1 

When scripts required Jump to act in ways that went against his religious convictions, he stated that his acting required the same "honesty and judiciousness" as the rest of his life.: 5  He would portray the fictional character as accurately as possible to deliver an honest representation of the story to his audience. He warned against portraying all theatrical characters like "missionaries", and instead encouraged actors to "stay true to their craft", through which their inner virtue would shine through.: 7, 11  Additionally, Jump did not believe in censorship, claiming instead that "if you teach people correct principles, they can govern themselves", a paraphrase of a teaching by Joseph Smith.: 95 

When Jump was offered the role of Chief Tinkler in Soap, he and his current LDS Church bishop were wary that the content of the program was contrary to his faith. Jump returned to the producers the next day with the intention of refusing the role. The directors heard Jump's concerns and suggested that the underlying messages of the show were more aligned to his beliefs as a Latter-day Saint than he realized; he was encouraged to read the "retribution scenes" in the script. Impressed by the depth of the lessons told through humor,: 8  Jump took the role in Soap and recommended that viewers of faith evaluate the lessons taught by the finished artistic product of a film or show rather than evaluate whether an actor would actually do some of the things they portray on screen.: 7 


Year Title Role Notes Citation
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 LDS Church film
1969 What About Thad? Bishop in the LDS Church LDS Church film
1969 Flareup Security Guard
1969 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple Film The Apostle Peter
1970 Ransom Money
1972 Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Auctioneer
1972 Trouble Man Salter
1972 Rolling Man
1975 A Cry For Help Lloyd Hogan
1976 Sybil
1977 Skateboard Harris
1978 Ruby and Oswald
1978 The Guilty LDS Church film.
1978 The Fury Nuckells
1978 House Calls Dr. O'Brien
1978 The Small One Joseph Voice, Short animated film
1979 Goldie and the Boxer Alex
1979 Evidence of Power Dr. Lawson
1980 Mr. Krueger's Christmas Narrator LDS Church film
1981 Midnight Offerings
1982 For Lovers Only Harvey Pugh
1982 Families are Forever LDS church film
1984 Making the Grade Mr. Harriman
1985 Darlin' Clementine
1987 Perry Mason: The Case of the Lost Love
1987 On Fire
1988 Moving Simon Eberhart
1988 Justin Case Sheldon Wannamaker
1990 Honeymoon Academy Mr. Nelson Alternative title: For Better or For Worse
1994 Bitter Vengeance Arnold Fulmer
1999 A Dog's Tale Professor Thadeus A. Widstone
2002 The Singles Ward An Airline Passenger
2003 Dismembered
Year Title Role Notes Citation
1965 Daniel Boone Marcus Clements 1 episode
1966 Get Smart Hobson 2 episodes "Casablanca" "Maxwell Smart, Private Eye"
1967 T.H.E. Cat 1 episode
1968 Green Acres Surveyor 1 episode: "How to Get from Hooterville to Pixley Without Moving".
1968 Lancer 1 episode "The Homecoming"
1970 Mannix Charlie 1 episode "Once upon a Saturday"
1970–1974 The Partridge Family Man #2 / Zack Feldman / Father 7 episodes
1970 The Brady Bunch Mechanic / Collins 2 episodes
1970 The Young Rebels 1 episode "The Hostages"
1970–1973 Love, American Style
1971 The Doris Day Show Mr. Robinson 1 episode
1971 Bewitched 2 episodes "The Return of Darrin the Bold" "Money Happy Returns"
1971 Cade's County 1 episode "Violent Echo"
1971-74 Partridge Family 4 episodes "The Strike-Out King (1973)" "Art For Mom's Sake (1974)"
1971-73 Love, American Style 2 episodes "Love and the Bowling Ball (1971)" "Love and the Suspicious Husband (1973)"
1971–1973 The New Dick Van Dyke Show 1 episode
1972–1973 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Hank Morton / Judy's Father 2 episodes "The Courtship of Mary's Father's Daughter (1972)"
1973 A Touch of Grace Greenwald 1 episode
1973 The Paul Lynde Show Larry 1 episode "The Congressman's Son"
1974 Chase 1 episode "$35 Will Fly You to the Moon"
1974 Kojak Jonas 1 episode "Slay Ride"
1974 The Apple's Way
1974 McCloud
1974 Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers Mr. Mead 1 episode
1975-76 The Rockford Files Freddie 2 episodes "Just By Accident (1975)" "A Bad Deal in the Valley (1976)"
1974–1975 That's My Mama Officer O'Reilley 3 episodes "The Last Haircut (1974)"
1974 Girl With Something Extra 1 episode "Guess Who's Feeding the Pigeons?"
1975 Harry O 2 episodes "Anatomy of a Frame" "Lester II"
1975 Police Woman 1 episode "No Place to Hide"
1975 Starsky and Hutch
1975 The Streets of San Francisco Sergeant Lacy 1 episode
1975 Switch 1 episode "Stung From Behind"
1975 ABC Afterschool Special 1 episode "Fawn Story"
1976 The Bionic Woman Charles Butler 1 episode "Welcome Home, Jaime"
1976 McMillan & Wife
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Dr. Simms 1 episode
1976 Alice Sheriff McElroy 1 episode
1976 McDuff, the Talking Dog Amos Ferguson 11 episodes
1976 Archie Mr. Andrews 1 episode "Pilot"
1977 Black Sheep Squadron 1 episode "Last One for Hutch"
1977 Good Times
1977 Lou Grant National Editor 6 episodes
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Officer Hooper 1 episode "Mystery of the Diamond Triangle"
1977-1978 Soap Chief of Police Tinkler 12 episodes
1978 The Incredible Hulk Mac 1 episode
1978–1982 WKRP in Cincinnati Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson, Station Manager 88 episodes (90 in syndication)
1980-87 The Love Boat 6 episodes "The Invisible Maniac (1980)" "Putting on the Dog (1983)" "Aerobic April (1983)" "Frat Wars (1986)" "Who Killed Maxwell Thorn? (1987)"
1981 Project Peacock 1 episode "The Big Stuffed Dog (special)"
1983 Diff'rent Strokes Mr. Horton 2 episodes: "The Bicycle Man" (two parts)
1983 Just a Little More Love (NBC special)
1983 Great Day 1 episode "Pilot"
1984 Second Edition 1 episode "Pilot"
1985 CBS Children's Mystery Theatre 1 episode "The Dirkin Detective Agency"
1985 Night Court American agent 1 episode "World War III"
1985 Amazing Stories 1 episode "Guilt Trip"
1985 Tall Tales & Legends Mr. Ripple 1 episode
1986–1991 Growing Pains Ed Malone 11 episodes
1986 Simon & Simon Ross Garrett 1 episode "Camp Apollo"
1986 New Love American Style 1 episode "Love and the Balcony"
1986 The Golden Girls Leonard Barton 1 episode
1986 Murder, She Wrote Mayor Tilly 1 episode: "If the Frame Fits"
1987 What a Country 1 episode "The Love Potion"
1988 Who's the Boss? Archie 1 episode
1989 Sister Kate Lucas Underwood 1 episode
1991–1993 The New WKRP in Cincinnati Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson 46 episodes
1994 Baywatch Max Edelman 2 episodes
1994 Kino's Storytime Himself, narrator of Horton Hatches the Egg 1 episode
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

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