Gordon Jump was born on April 1, 1932 in Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1957 where he studied journalism. After college, he held jobs at radio and television stations in the Topeka Kansas area. He also worked as a television producer and on-air personality in Dayton, Ohio. Jump realized he wanted to become an actor, so he moved to Los Angeles.
At first he was cast in small TV roles, on shows such as Get Smart
, The Partridge Family
and The Rockford Files
. He also did guest parts on shows such as Lou Grant
, and Soap
. He soon nabbed his most notable role, playing the station manager Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati
, a part he played from 1978 - 1982. In his later years, he is best known for playing the lonely Maytag appliance repairman in television commercials.
He converted Mormonism as an adult, and followed the faith for the remainder of his life. Jump married twice - the first time to Anna, in 1963. They had five children (four daughters and one son), and divorced in 1992. He married his second wife, Betty, in 1993 and they were married until Jump’s death from pulmonary fibrosis in 2003. He was 71.