Jesse White, born Jesse Marc Weidenfeld, was an American actor best known for his iconic role as “Ol’ Lonely” the repairman in Maytag television commercials from 1967 to 1988. He also appeared in the 1950 film “Harvey” alongside James Stewart. White had a long and successful career in both film and television, with notable roles in various shows and movies throughout the years.
- Jesse White gained fame for his role as “Ol’ Lonely” the Maytag repairman in television commercials.
- He had a successful career in film and television, with notable roles in movies such as “Harvey” and TV shows like “The Andy Griffith Show.”
- White’s legacy as an actor lives on through his iconic performances and memorable Maytag commercials.
- He had a long and varied career, appearing on Broadway, in films, television series, and even lending his voice to cartoons.
- White’s work continues to bring joy to audiences around the world, and he is remembered as a beloved actor.
Early Life and Career
Jesse White, born on January 3, 1917, in Buffalo, New York, had a remarkable journey in the entertainment industry. Growing up in Akron, Ohio, White discovered his love for acting at a young age. At just 15 years old, he made his first amateur appearance in local stage productions, signaling the beginning of a promising career.
In the 1930s, White held various jobs before entering the world of vaudeville and burlesque. His talent and dedication soon landed him a role on Broadway after he moved to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1942, White made his Broadway debut in the play “The Moon Is Down,” captivating audiences with his performance. It was the first of many successful stage productions that would shape his career in the coming years.
White’s breakthrough came when he portrayed a hilarious sanitarium orderly in the popular play “Harvey.” The play received critical acclaim, and White’s comedic timing and remarkable stage presence left a lasting impression on the audience.
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|Timeline of Jesse White’s Early Life and Career:
|Born in Buffalo, New York
|Made first amateur stage appearance
|Broadway debut in “The Moon Is Down”
|Performed in “Harvey” as a sanitarium orderly
H3: Broadway Success
White’s success on Broadway continued in the subsequent years, with a series of acclaimed performances. His notable roles in various productions solidified his reputation as a talented stage actor. One of his most memorable roles was in the play “Harvey,” where he brilliantly brought the character of the sanitarium orderly to life once again. This iconic performance resonated with audiences and garnered much praise from critics. Moreover, White’s Broadway debut in “The Moon Is Down” showcased his early talent and set the stage for his illustrious career in the performing arts.
Film and Television Career
Jesse White’s career spanned both film and television, showcasing his versatility as an actor. He appeared in a wide range of films, including “Kiss of Death” (1947), “Designing Woman” (1957), “Marjorie Morningstar” (1958), and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963). These notable roles solidified his presence in the film industry, with his performances leaving a lasting impression on audiences.
White also made a mark on television, starting in the 1950s with appearances on popular shows like “Make Room for Daddy,” “The Ann Sothern Show,” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” However, it was his portrayal of a lonely repairman in a series of Maytag commercials that became his most iconic television role. White’s portrayal of the Maytag repairman captivated audiences, and he appeared in a total of 68 commercials for the brand from 1967 to 1989.
“I’m Jesse White and I’m not a happy repairman. I’m lonely.”
In addition to his film and television work, White’s final film role came in the 1993 comedy “Matinee,” where he showcased his comedic talent alongside actor John Goodman. This final performance was a fitting end to a remarkable career that left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry.
Notable Film Roles
Throughout his film career, Jesse White took on a variety of memorable roles. In the 1950 film “Harvey,” he reprised his Broadway role as a sanitarium orderly, showcasing his comedic timing alongside legendary actor James Stewart. White’s ability to seamlessly transition between comedic and dramatic roles made him a sought-after actor in Hollywood.
He also appeared in films such as “Marjorie Morningstar” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” further cementing his place in the industry and captivating audiences with his performances.
Jesse White’s television career was just as impressive as his film work. He made memorable appearances on popular shows like “Make Room for Daddy,” “The Ann Sothern Show,” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” These television roles allowed White to showcase his acting range and further solidify his status as a talented performer.
“Pepsi-Cola hits the spot. Twelve full ounces, that’s a lot.”
However, it was his portrayal of the Maytag repairman that would become his most recognizable and beloved television role. The Maytag commercials, featuring White as the lonely repairman with nothing to do, became a staple on television screens for over two decades, firmly establishing White as a familiar face in households across America.
Personal Life and Legacy
In 1942, Jesse White married Celia Cohn, and they had two daughters named Carole Ita White and Janet Jonas. White’s wife, Celia, passed away in 2003. Unfortunately, White himself died on January 9, 1997, at the age of 80, due to a heart attack following surgery. He was laid to rest at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Jesse White’s legacy as an actor lives on through his memorable performances in film, television, and commercials. His talent and charisma left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, and his work continues to inspire both aspiring and seasoned actors alike. Whether it was his role as the iconic Maytag repairman or his captivating performances on Broadway and in films, White’s contributions to the arts will always be cherished.
Jesse White’s talent and versatility extended beyond film and television, as he also found success on the Broadway stage. Throughout his career, he performed in a total of 17 shows, leaving a lasting impact on the theatrical world.
One of White’s most memorable roles on Broadway was in the play “Harvey,” where he showcased his comedic chops as the male nurse. His portrayal of this character became iconic, and he later reprised the role in the 1950 film adaptation of the play.
“Playing the comedic male nurse in ‘Harvey’ was an incredible experience for me. The play allowed me to showcase my comedic timing and connect with the audience on a deeper level. It’s a role that will always hold a special place in my heart.” – Jesse White
Furthermore, White had a successful debut on Broadway with the play “The Moon Is Down” in 1942. This marked the beginning of his stellar career on the Broadway stage, where he continued to captivate audiences with his engaging performances.
Below is a table highlighting some of Jesse White’s successful Broadway shows:
|The Moon Is Down
Jesse White’s contributions to Broadway remain an enduring part of his legacy, showcasing his remarkable talent as a versatile actor. His performances continue to inspire and entertain audiences, solidifying his place as a Broadway icon.
Notable Film Roles
In addition to his successful television career, Jesse White also made a significant impact in the world of film. With over 60 film credits to his name, White showcased his versatility as an actor, seamlessly transitioning between comedic and dramatic roles.
One of White’s notable film roles was in the 1950 film “Harvey,” where he played the same role he portrayed on Broadway. In the film, White delivered a memorable performance as a sanitarium orderly, contributing to the overall success and popularity of the iconic story.
Another standout role for Jesse White was in the 1958 film “Marjorie Morningstar.” In this coming-of-age drama, White’s performance added depth to the story, leaving a lasting impression on audiences.
“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”
White’s filmography also includes the 1963 comedy classic “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” In this star-studded ensemble film, White showcased his comedic talent alongside notable actors of the time, further solidifying his reputation as a versatile and skilled performer.
Throughout his film career, Jesse White’s memorable roles in movies such as “Harvey,” “Marjorie Morningstar,” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” cemented his status as a talented and beloved actor. His ability to captivate audiences with his performances in both comedy and drama continues to be celebrated and remembered to this day.
Jesse White’s television career was just as impressive as his film and Broadway success. He showcased his talent and versatility through various television appearances, leaving a lasting impact on both audiences and the industry.
In the 1950s, White began making a name for himself in television with notable roles in popular shows such as “Make Room for Daddy,” “The Ann Sothern Show,” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” He captivated viewers with his comedic timing and unique charm, establishing himself as a beloved television actor.
However, it was White’s portrayal of the ever-lonely Maytag repairman in a series of commercials that truly solidified his television legacy. From 1967 to 1989, White portrayed the iconic character in a long-running advertising campaign for Maytag appliances. His memorable performance made him a recognizable face in households across the country, and the commercials became a cherished part of television history.
“I portrayed the Maytag repairman for 22 years, and it was such a joy to bring that character to life. It became a part of me, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with audiences through television.”
White’s ability to captivate audiences on both the small and big screens showcased his exceptional talent and versatility as an actor. His television appearances, including the unforgettable Maytag commercials, continue to be remembered and cherished by fans to this day.
|Make Room for Daddy
|The Ann Sothern Show
|The Andy Griffith Show
Jesse White’s portrayal of the Maytag repairman in the iconic advertising campaign proved to be an extraordinary success. The commercials featured White as the beloved character known as “Ol’ Lonely,” representing the Maytag repairman who had nothing to do because Maytag appliances were so dependable. It was an ingenious way to showcase the reliability and durability of Maytag products while engaging audiences with humor.
The advertising campaign featuring Jesse White as the Maytag repairman ran for an impressive 22 years, from 1967 to 1989. During this extensive period, the commercials became a staple in television advertising, making White a well-known face in households across the nation. His impeccable comedic timing and relatable portrayal endeared him to audiences, creating a lasting impact on popular culture.
As the Maytag repairman, Jesse White not only achieved widespread recognition but also enjoyed a highly lucrative career. With his notable presence and unwavering commitment to the character, White epitomized the Maytag brand and solidified his position as a prominent figure in the advertising industry.
Throughout the campaign’s run, Jesse White’s excellent portrayal as the Maytag repairman helped solidify the brand’s reputation for dependability. His comedic performances resonated with audiences, creating a memorable connection between the Maytag appliances and the character “Ol’ Lonely.” The advertising campaign’s success not only elevated Jesse White’s career but also established the Maytag repairman as an enduring symbol of reliability and quality.
Last Film and TV Roles
Jesse White’s final film role was in the 1993 comedy “Matinee,” starring John Goodman. He portrayed the character of Mr. Slocum in this entertaining film. “Matinee” is a heartwarming comedy set in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, where a horror movie promoter brings his latest creation, “Mant,” to a small town. The film explores themes of friendship, love, and the power of cinema in uncertain times. White’s performance added depth and humor to the film, showcasing his undeniable talent even in his later years.
In addition to his appearance in “Matinee,” Jesse White made a memorable guest appearance on the popular sitcom “Seinfeld.” In the episode titled “The Cadillac,” White played the character of Morty Seinfeld’s neighbor, who mistakenly receives a new Cadillac instead of the intended recipient. The episode is filled with comedic moments, and White’s presence added an extra layer of humor to the already hilarious storyline.
“Seinfeld was a show that I loved, and being able to work with Jerry Seinfeld was a childhood dream come true,” said White during an interview about his experience on the set of “Seinfeld.” His appearance on the show further solidified his status as a talented actor and left fans with another memorable performance to cherish.
Despite these being his last film role and television appearance, Jesse White left a lasting impression on audiences through his talent, versatility, and ability to make people laugh. His remarkable contributions to the entertainment industry will continue to be celebrated and remembered for years to come.
Voiceover Work and Cartoons
In addition to his on-screen performances, Jesse White also showcased his talent through voiceover work. One notable project he participated in was the series “Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America.” White lent his voice to the series and later featured in “The Middle Years” of the show, captivating audiences with his vocal skills and comedic timing.
White’s versatility extended to the realm of cartoons, where he provided voices for beloved animated characters. He contributed his vocal talents to shows like “Jonny Quest” and “Garfield and Friends,” bringing these characters to life with his distinctive voice and impeccable delivery.
Jesse White on “Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America”
Working on “Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America” was a delight for Jesse White. He had the opportunity to showcase his vocal range and comedic timing in this satirical series, which explored American history in a unique and entertaining way. His contributions to the show added depth and humor to the memorable characters.
Jesse White’s Iconic Voice in Cartoons
Jesse White’s voice brought charm and personality to animated characters. In “Jonny Quest,” he lent his voice to the character of Race Bannon, Jonny’s loyal and resourceful bodyguard, elevating the show with his distinct tone and energy. Additionally, White’s talent shone through in “Garfield and Friends,” where he provided the voice for various characters, adding humor and wit to the beloved cartoon series.
Legacy and Remembering Jesse White
Jesse White’s impact as a beloved actor is imprinted in the hearts of audiences around the world. His memorable performances in film, television, and commercials, including his iconic portrayal of the Maytag repairman, continue to resonate with fans.
White’s enduring legacy lies in his ability to bring laughter and joy to people of all ages. Whether on the big screen or the small screen, his talent and charisma left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. His portrayal of the Maytag repairman, known as “Ol’ Lonely,” defined an advertising campaign that spanned over two decades and solidified White as a recognizable and beloved figure.
Although Jesse White is no longer with us, his work lives on, reminding us of his extraordinary talent and the joy he brought to countless lives. His performances continue to captivate audiences, ensuring that his legacy as a beloved actor endures for generations to come.
Who is Jesse White?
Jesse White, born Jesse Marc Weidenfeld, was an American actor best known for his iconic role as “Ol’ Lonely” the repairman in Maytag television commercials from 1967 to 1988. He also had a successful career in film and television, with notable roles in various shows and movies throughout the years.
What was Jesse White’s early life and career like?
Jesse White developed a passion for acting at a young age and made his first amateur appearance in local stage productions. He worked various jobs before starting his career in vaudeville and burlesque. He eventually landed a role on Broadway and went on to have a successful career in both film and television.
What are some of Jesse White’s notable film and television roles?
Jesse White appeared in films such as “Harvey,” “Designing Woman,” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” He also had roles in television shows like “Make Room for Daddy,” “The Ann Sothern Show,” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”
What was Jesse White’s most famous role?
Jesse White’s most famous role was as the Maytag repairman in a series of commercials for Maytag appliances. He portrayed the “Ol’ Lonely” repairman in the commercials, which ran from 1967 to 1989.
What was Jesse White’s last film role?
Jesse White’s final film role was in the 1993 comedy “Matinee,” starring John Goodman. He also made a memorable appearance on the popular sitcom “Seinfeld,” in an episode titled “The Cadillac.”
Did Jesse White do voiceover work?
Yes, Jesse White did voiceover work for various projects. He was one of the voiceover actors for the series “Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America” and also provided voices for cartoons such as “Jonny Quest” and “Garfield and Friends.”
What is Jesse White’s legacy?
Jesse White’s legacy as an actor lives on through his memorable performances in film, television, and commercials. He is best remembered for his role as the Maytag repairman and continues to bring laughter and joy to people around the world.
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