Elmer Lynn Hauldren (April 1, 1922 – April 26, 2011) was an advertising copywriter based in Chicago who was best known for originating the television character The Empire Man, the spokesman for Empire Today.
Life and career
Hauldren was born in Missouri. During World War II, he served as a radio operator in Asia along the Burma Road from India to China. While delivering supplies along the road, Hauldren's unit came under fire. When Hauldren visited the area in 2005, he was greeted as a hero by locals.
Following the war, Hauldren was a copywriter at Young & Rubicam, Bozell Jacobs and DDB Needham. He later founded his own firm, Lynn Hauldren Creative. During the course of his career in advertising, he won 2 Clio awards. Lynn Hauldren was married to Helen Helmke Hauldren and the parent of six children, 15 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. Two of his grandchildren are the tenor Matthew Polenzani and the singer-songwriter Rose Polenzani.
Empire Man character
Hauldren was working on the Empire Carpet account in 1977 and could not find an actor the company approved of for the role of The Empire Man in a commercial scheduled to be shot. Instead, then company owner Seymour Cohen asked Hauldren to play the role of The Empire Man himself. The Empire Man character appeared in practically every commercial for the company from 1977 to 2011, and the company also issued a limited edition bobble-head doll of the character. By the 2000s, Empire switched from live-action commercials to CGI, with Hauldren continuing to provide voice-overs. A sampling of Lynn's famous commercials can be found on the Empire Carpet video site and other facts about the Empire Man character can be found at Empire Carpet Man website.
Hauldren also wrote the tune used to accompany the singing of the company's phone number, and recorded the jingle with an a cappella group, The Fabulous 40s. The famous Empire Today advertising jingle (eight hundred, five-eight-eight, two, three-hundred Empire Today!) has made the Empire Today phone number one of the most recognized numbers in the country.
Hauldren recorded several albums with the barbershop quartet Chordiac Arrest including Live and Well and Second Opinion. The group also released a live performance video entitled Chordiac Arrest! The Video. In 2007 Hauldren formed a new vocal quartet called Chordplay that has appeared on television. In 2005, Hauldren appeared in a comedic short video for the stage show, Big Time Tonight, written by comedian Landon Kirksey and directed by Jeremy Dionisio. The video features Kirksey's character entering a bar and receiving sage-like advice from Hauldren himself. He was known to say of himself "I don't own the company, I can't install carpet, and I'm not an actor." When asked for autographs, he'd reply "I'm not an actor or a celebrity. I'm a pitchman; a glorified salesman."
Hauldren died in his Evanston, Illinois home on April 26, 2011, aged 89. His family stated that he died from "natural causes". Following his death, Empire Today launched a tribute to Hauldren and The Empire Man. The tribute indicated that he will, "always have a special place in the hearts of many."
- "Letter from Lynn Hauldren". CBI Expeditions. 2006-05-19. Retrieved 2010-01-26.
- "Empire® Man Character Inspiration Lynn Hauldren Passes Away at Age of 89". Sun Herald. SunHerald.com. 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2011-04-27.
- Mueller, Jim (December 1, 1997). "Lynn Hauldren: The Man Behind Empire's Wall-To-Wall Soft Sell". Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois). Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- Toomey, Seamus (2007-01-08). "Advertising Empire: One Simple Jingle Made Lynn Hauldren a Chicago Icon". The Daily South Town. Retrieved 2007-02-23.[dead link]
- Duncanson, Jon (2005-03-30). "Empire Carpet Man Reveals Heroic War Service". CBS. Archived from the original on 2007-02-03. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
- Ramirez Margaret (April 27, 2011). Elmer Lynn Hauldren, 1922-2011. Chicago Tribune
- "‘Empire Carpet Man’ Elmer Lynn Hauldren dead at age 89". Chicago Sun-Times. 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
- Christopher, Rob (2006-04-13). "Who's the Empire Carpet Guy?". Chicagoist. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
- "Empire Today’s icon character 'Empire Man' celebrates 30th anniversary". Weatherford Democrat. 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2007-07-23.
- "Chordiac Arrest". Primarily a Cappella. Retrieved 2007-02-23.