Jump Retires as Maytag’s ‘Lonely’ Repairman

CHICAGO Gordon Jump, the actor who played Maytag’s iconic repairman “Ol’ Lonely” for the past 14 years, is retiring from the role. Character actor Hardy Rawls will replace him in a 2004 campaign.

Rawls, who is best known for his portrayal as the father in Nickelodeon’s Pete and Pete, won the role after a nationwide search. He will be only the third man to play the repairman, who is lonely because Maytag consumers rarely call for help. Jesse White, who played the character from 1967 to 1988, when Jump took over the character, originated the role.

“It’s been a delight to play Ol’ Lonely, and I’ve loved the role,” said Jump, 71, in a statement. “While I have loved my 15 years with Maytag, it’s time for me to move on with the next phase of my life.”

In 2001, Maytag’s longtime agency, Leo Burnett in Chicago, introduced a younger, eager apprentice for Ol’ Lonely in an attempt to attract younger consumers. That role, played by Mark Devine, will continue in upcoming campaigns, according to a representative for Leo Burnett.