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Empire carpet man dies at Evanston home

Published: Thursday, April 28, 2011 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP file photo)
Elmer Lynn Hauldren, who became famous as the Empire carpet man, holds a bobblehead doll Oct. 4, 2006, in his likeness in Chicago. A spokesman for Empire Today said Hauldren died Tuesday at his home in Evanston. He was 89. Hauldren was the voice of Empire carpet on television advertising in the 1970s. The ads later aired around the country in cities such as New York, Washington and San Francisco.

EVANSTON – Elmer Lynn Hauldren, a World War II veteran who became famous in national television advertising as the Empire carpet man and helped launch the company’s “588-2300” jingle, died Tuesday. He was 89.

Hauldren died in his home in the north Chicago suburb of Evanston. A cause of death wasn’t given, but Empire Today spokeswoman Marlo Michalek said he had been sick.

Hauldren was the voice of Empire carpet in television advertising in the 1970s. The ads later aired around the country in cities such as New York, Washington and San Francisco. He was the company spokesman until he died.

“He has made an indelible mark on advertising history with his creativity and warmth,” Empire CEO Steve Silvers said. “Lynn will always have a special place in the hearts of many.”

Hauldren was chosen as Empire’s on-air talent after several other candidates auditioned for the role. Hauldren stopped appearing personally in the ads in the early 2000s and instead an animated character with his likeness appeared along with his voice.

The Chicago-area native was the father of six, grandfather of 18 and great-grandfather of 10. He also was a singer in a barbershop quartet and recorded several albums.

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