- The Washington Times - Monday, April 2, 2007

D.C.-area residents won’t have to look too far for a repairman when their Maytag appliances break down.

A Richmond resident was named the next Maytag repairman yesterday after a coast-to-coast search.

Whirlpool Corp., the Cleveland company that bought Maytag last year, put more than 2,000 candidates through the wringer before selecting Clay Jackson to assume the coveted mantle.

Maytag’s famous 40-year-old ad campaign features a repairman suffering from boredom and loneliness because Maytag appliances rarely break down.

Taping television commercials will be a first for Mr. Jackson, who has three years of New York acting experience on his resume but has spent the past seven years working in real estate.

The 33-year-old Richmond native decided to enter the contest in February. Although he entered the audition on a whim, his sense of humor helped him outlast hundreds of candidates and make it into the final six.

“I couldn’t really prepare. The first two auditions were strictly improvisation,” he said. “I wanted to keep it close to the character and not go too far. I just wanted to be as honest and funny as I could be. At one point I was talking to a stool that they said was an appliance.”

The Maytag repairman commercials haven’t aired in three years. The new ads will bring the character out of the doldrums and “into the real world,” said Mr. Jackson.

“The new Maytag repairman will help revitalize the Maytag brand and its heritage by keeping one foot in our past while putting the other in our future,” said Maytag Vice President Jeff Davidoff.

Since appearing for the first time in 1967, the Maytag repairman has been played by only three actors. Mr. Jackson said his favorite was Gordon Jump, who also played Mr. Carlson in the TV sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati.”

“I never once thought I’d be the Maytag repairman,” Mr. Jackson said. “This is beyond my wildest dreams, and my wife and I are proud and thrilled. There is no going back to real estate.”

Mr. Jackson said he hopes to portray the character for the next 25 years.

He might be busier than his predecessors, though. Consumer Reports recently concluded that Maytag had the worst repair record of 14 surveyed appliance brands.

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