'WKRP' actor Gordon Jump dies

LOS ANGELES - Actor Gordon Jump, known for playing Mr. Carlson on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati , died Monday. He was 71 years old.

According to media reports, Jump suffered from a condition called pulmonary fibrosis. Funeral arrangements are pending.

WKRP ran from 1978 to 1982. Jump's character, nicknamed "the Big Guy," was the fictional Ohio radio station's addle-minded manager.

Mr. Carlson was frequently confused by the antics of his employees. The original intent of series creator Hugh Wilson was to have the show centre on Carlson and his newly hired program director, Andy Travis (played by Gary Sandy).

The program evolved into an ensemble comedy when other characters, like Howard Hesseman's Dr. Johnny Fever, became popular with the viewing public.

Jump's character contributed one immortal line to television history. In the Thanksgiving episode entitled Turkeys Away , he arranges to have live turkeys dropped from a helicopter.

"As God is my witness," Carlson explained, "I thought turkeys could fly." As with many WKRP episodes, Wilson based the plot on a real-life incident. After WKRP was cancelled, Jump went on to play Ol' Lonely, the washing-machine repairman, in commercials for appliance maker Maytag. He appeared in the ads from 1989 until he retired this July.

Jump's many guest credits include playing one of George Costanza's many bosses on Seinfeld .

WKRP has aired in reruns in Canada on The Comedy Network.

Jump died at his home in Orange County, California.

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