Family & Companions
Often remembered as one of the iconic Maytag Repairmen from the long-running ad campaign, Jesse White first took to the stage in an amateur production at 15. He eventually worked his way up from vaudeville and burlesque to legitimate theater, and by 1943, he was on Broadway as a brusque sanitarium orderly in the fantasy-infused drama "Harvey," which centers on a man whose best friend is an invisible 6-foot-tall rabbit. When the hit play was adapted into a film seven years later, White reprised his role and worked opposite movie mega star James Stewart. Between the play and the film, White was now a recognizable talent in Hollywood, and he went on to appear in a string of films before breaking into television with a variety of one-off roles. White would ultimately appear in 160 TV and film productions over a career that spanned five decades, but it was his part as the perennially bored Maytag Repairman for which White became best known. White was offered the role of the unneeded Repairman after an ad exec saw his deadpan comedy bit as a monotone-speaking yet cantankerous janitor in the 1967 Don Knotts/Leslie Nielsen space program comedy "The Reluctant Astronaut." The next year White became the face of Maytag and went on to reprise the role of the loveable and lonely mascot in ads until 1988, after which he became a Maytag consultant. White worked steadily in TV and film until his death from a heart attack in 1997.
Cast (Feature Film)
First role on Broadway
Performed in Mary Chase's play "Harvey"
Film acting debut in "Harvey"
Starred in "Make Room for Daddy"
Returned to Broadway in a revival of "Harvey" co-starring Helen Hayes and James Stewart
Final film role in "Matinee"
Last TV appearance on NBC series "Seinfeld"