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Gordon Jump

Gordon Jump, 1984

Actor. Born April 1, 1932, Dayton, Ohio. Died: September 22, 2003, Los Angeles, California.

Best known for his role as Arthur Carlson of WKRP in Cincinnati, Alexander Gordon Jump launched his career in broadcasting in Kansas. Born in April 1, 1932 and a native of Centerville, Ohio, Jump arrived on post at Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1951. He had heard about the radio and television curriculum at Kansas State University and decided to enroll. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1957.

Lowell Jack, station manager at KMAN/KMKF, gave Jump his first broadcasting job at the Manhattan radio station. "I was a summer replacement for another announcer and I thought I would be so good that Lowell would never hire the other guy back," Jump told K-Stater magazine. "But I was bad, very bad. Lowell told me I needed to find another job or work a little harder."

Whether through guilt or generosity, Jack helped Jump find another job in a larger market. "Lowell called Thad Sandstrom of WIBW on the phone and said if Sandstrom didn't hire me he was making a big mistake," Jump told the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Jump moved to Topeka and worked as an announcer and weatherman for WIBW Radio and TV. During the early 1960s, he became Wib the Clown, for WIBW-TV's Saturday morning children's program. While in Topeka, Jump attended Washburn University.

It was in 1963, when Jump decided to end his TV producing career in Dayton, Ohio, and move to Hollywood. There Jump worked to develop his career as an actor. He made his first appearance on television with a guest spot on "The Love Boat" and followed with brief roles on a number of other situation comedies including "Green Acres." He starred in CBS' comedy, "WKRP in Cincinnati," September 1978 - April 1982 on the network. The program had a successful run in syndication, and a new program, "The New WKRP in Cincinnati," which ran September 1991 - May 1993, featured the original cast. He also portrayed Chief of Police Tinkler in the ABC comedy, "Soap," which ran 1977 - 1981.

Jump was hired in 1997 to serve as the lonely Maytag repairman. He retired from the commercial series in 2003. His film credits include "The Singles Ward" (2002), "Mommy 2: Mommy's Day" (1996), and "Bitter Vengeance" (1994). Jump received the "Excellence in media Gold Angel Award" in 1993.

"People expect me to be funny and I'm really very serious," Jump told K-Stater magazine. "I'll get off a plane and somebody will hit me with a line like 'Okay, say something funny.' That's not something I feel comfortable with because I'm not a standup comedian. My humor comes from working with a situation. I try to be creative."

Gordon Jump, 1984When the Kansas Museum of History dedicated its new building June 23, 1984, in Topeka, Jump delivered the address. The Ohio native told Kansans that he gained a rare view of its people state when he arrived just after the 1951 flood. "Coming in from the outside and not being part of the state of Kansas, I had a chance to see you as an outsider sees you and to observe a quality that charmed me. I was given an opportunity meet, talk, and even work with individuals who through struggle, through hardship, and their ability to pull together, had developed what I thought was one of the most unique communities that I have ever experienced. The backbreaking work of shoveling out of their homes and businesses the muddy residue of the Blue and Kaw rivers left something behind more precious than gold can buy." He referenced the museum's new 1881 Cyrus K. Holliday steam engine, which "kids will take a look at" for its magnificent metal-"and we're talking heavy metal here, folks."

Jump died September 22, 2003 in Orange County, California.

Entry: Jump, Gordon

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: September 2003

Date Modified: March 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.