Jesse White

Jesse White, the veteran TV and film actor who is probably best remembered as the Maytag repairman in TV commercials that aired for 22 years, died Jan. 8 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 79.

White died of cardiac arrest following colon cancer surgery.

Born Jan. 3, 1919, in Buffalo, N.Y., White was reared in Akron, Ohio, and made his first stage appearance at the age of 15. He then took the vaudeville, burlesque and stock theater route before arriving on Broadway in 1943.

The next year, he landed the supporting role of Marvin Wilson in Mary Chase’s play “Harvey.” He made his film debut in the movie starring James Stewart in 1950.

In the late 1960s White returned to Broadway in a revival of “Harvey.”

His numerous film credits included “Bedtime for Bonzo,” “Death of a Salesman,” “Marjorie Morningstar,” “The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World,” “The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini” and “The Reluctant Astronaut.”

His last film role was in 1993’s “Matinee,” starring John Goodman.

White acted in many TV series, including a recurring role as Danny Thomas’ agent in “Make Room for Daddy.” He also appeared opposite Thomas’ daughter, Marlo Thomas, in “That Girl.”

White’s last TV appearance was in an episode of “Seinfeld.”

White is survived by his wife, Celia, two daughters, two sisters, two brothers and three grandchildren.

Services will be held at noon today at Mount Sinai Cemetery.

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