Gordon Jump: Mormon Actor
Alexander Gordon Jump was an American actor best known for his roles as Arthur Carlson on the television comedy WKRP in Cincinnati and the Maytag repairman on television commercials. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Jump was born on April 1, 1932, in Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, and then earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kansas State University in 1957. He began his career as a radio and television personality in Manhattan and Topeka, Kansas. He performed as “Wib the Clown” on an after-school children’s program and reported the weather on the evening news. Back in Dayton, he was the host of the popular children’s show, “Gordon Jump’s Fun Time,” and producer at WDTN (then WLWD).
After Jump moved to Los Angeles to study and pursue acting, he became involved in stage productions with Ruth Hale and Nathan Hale. Jump landed minor roles on a variety of shows in the 1960s, including Daniel Boone, Get Smart, Here Come the Brides, and Green Acres. During this time he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He appeared in several church instructional films and was the narrator in Church-produced Mr. Krueger’s Christmas.
In the 1970s, he guest-starred in numerous television shows such as The Rockford Files, The Incredible Hulk, Starsky and Hutch, The Streets of San Francisco, Lou Grant, Kojak, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Bionic Woman. After the end of WKRP in Cincinnati, Jump had a recurring role on Growing Pains. He also appeared two episodes in the last season of Seinfeld, as well as episodes of The Golden Girls, Night Court, Who’s the Boss?, Married . . . with Children, and Baywatch. From 1991 to 1993, he reprised his role as Arthur Carlson in The New WKRP in Cincinnati. He hosted the PBS series Make Yourself at Home and taught voice lessons. He also appeared in some theater productions.
Jump appeared in several movies including Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, The Big Stuffed Dog, The Fury, House Calls, Making the Grade, Moving, Honeymoon Academy. He also appeared in the Kurt Hale comedy, The Singles Ward.
He is the father of four daughters and two stepchildren. He was married to his wife Olinda Kandt from 1954 to 1962, wife Anna Inge from 1963 to 1992, and to wife Betty McKeever from 1993 until his death on September 22, 2003, in Coto de Caza, California.