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Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm at PaleyFest 2014.jpg
Hamm at PaleyFest in 2014
Born Jonathan Daniel Hamm
(1971-03-10) March 10, 1971 (age 47)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Alma mater University of Texas, Austin
University of Missouri
Occupation
  • Actor
  • producer
Years active 1996–present
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.86 m)
Partner(s) Jennifer Westfeldt
(c. 1997; sep. 2015)

Jonathan Daniel Hamm[1] (born March 10, 1971)[2][1] is an American actor best known for playing advertising executive Don Draper for the AMC television drama series Mad Men (2007–2015).

For much of the mid-1990s, he lived in Los Angeles, making appearances in television series Providence, The Division, What About Brian, and Related. In 2000, he made his feature film debut in the space adventure film Space Cowboys. The next year, he had a minor role in the independent comedy Kissing Jessica Stein (2001).

He gained wide recognition when Mad Men began in July 2007. His performance earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama in 2008 and again in 2016, and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2015. He also directed two episodes of the show.

In 2008, Hamm appeared in a remake of the science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still. His first leading film role was in the 2010 independent thriller Stolen. He also had supporting roles in the films The Town (2010), Sucker Punch (2011), and Bridesmaids (2011). Hamm has received 16 Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his performances in Mad Men, 30 Rock (2006–2013), and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015–present).

His other television credits include featuring in the Sky Arts series A Young Doctor's Notebook and guest roles in Black Mirror, Parks and Recreation and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. He has also provided his voice to the animated films Shrek Forever After (2010) and Minions (2015).

Early life[edit]

Hamm was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Deborah and Daniel Hamm. His father managed a family trucking company, and his mother was a secretary.[3][4] He is of German, English, and Irish descent; his surname came from German immigrants.[5]

Hamm's parents divorced when he was two years old, and he lived in St. Louis County in Creve Coeur with his mother[4] until her death from colon cancer, when he was 10 years old.[6] Hamm then lived with his father in Clayton, Missouri, the county seat.[7]

His first acting role was as Winnie the Pooh in first grade.[8] At 16, he was cast as Judas in the play Godspell,[9] and enjoyed the experience, though he did not take acting seriously. He attended John Burroughs School, a private school in Ladue, where he was a member of the football, baseball, and swim teams.[7] During this time, he dated Sarah Clarke, who became an actress.[10] When Hamm was 20, his father died.

After graduation in 1989 Hamm enrolled in the University of Texas,[11] where he was a member of the Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity. There, Hamm was arrested for participating in a violent hazing incident in November 1990. Mark Sanders was beaten with a paddle and a broom by other fraternity members, while Hamm led Sanders around the fraternity house with a hammer claw around Sanders' testicles; Sanders' clothes were also set afire. The incident resulted in the fraternity being shut down on campus. Hamm made a plea deal and completed probation under the terms of a deferred adjudication; the charges were dismissed during August 1995.[12][13][14]

Hamm enrolled at the University of Missouri.[11] At Missouri he answered an advertisement from a theater company seeking players for a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, auditioned, and was cast in the production.[7] Other roles followed, such as Leon Czolgosz in Assassins.[16]

Acting career[edit]

After graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English,[17] Hamm returned to his high school to teach eighth-grade acting.[4][7][18] One of his students was Ellie Kemper, who later became an actress and stars with him in the Netflix original television series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.[19]

Early work[edit]

Not wishing to stay in a "normal career", Hamm relocated to Los Angeles permanently during 1995[21] with an automobile and $150.[10] He relocated to a house with four other aspiring actors and began working as a waiter while attending auditions.[7] He acted in theatre, including as Flavius in a production of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens with the Sacred Fools Theater Company.[22]

Looking older than his age, finding work as an actor was difficult, despite representation by the William Morris Agency.[23][10][21][20] During 1998, having failed to obtain any acting jobs after three years,[3] he was terminated as a client by William Morris.

Hamm continued working as a waiter[7] and, briefly, as a set designer for a softcore pornography movie.[20] After repeatedly failing to get promising roles, Hamm set his 30th birthday as a deadline to succeed in Hollywood,[9] stating:

You either suck that up and find another agent, or you go home and say you gave it a shot, but that's the end of that. The last thing I wanted to be out here was one of those actors who's 45 years old, with a tenuous grasp of their own reality, and not really working much. So I gave myself five years. I said, if I can't get it going by the time I'm 30, I'm in the wrong place. And as soon as I said that, it's like I started working right away.[7]

During 2000, Hamm obtained the role of romantic firefighter Burt Ridley on NBC's drama series Providence.[24][25] His one-episode contract grew to 19,[4][8] and enabled him to quit waiting tables.[10][23] Hamm made his feature movie debut with one line in Clint Eastwood's space adventure Space Cowboys (2000);[24][26] more substantial roles followed in the independent comedy movie Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)[27] and the war film We Were Soldiers (2002).[24][28] During filming that movie, he turned 30.[9] His career was bolstered by his playing the recurring role of police inspector Nate Basso on Lifetime's television series The Division, from 2002 to 2004.[24][25] Other minor roles followed on the television series What About Brian, CSI: Miami, Related, Numb3rs, The Unit, and The Sarah Silverman Program.[24][25] Hamm's Mad Men castmate Eric Ladin had said that one of the reasons he admires Hamm is that while he "made it" later than most actors, Hamm never gave up on acting.[29]

International recognition[edit]

Hamm landed his breakthrough role during 2007, when he was cast from more than 80 candidates[20] as the protagonist character Don Draper, in AMC's drama series Mad Men. In the series, set in a fictional 1960s advertising agency, he plays a suave, married advertising executive with an obscure past.[30] He recalled, "I read the script for Mad Men and I loved it. [...] I never thought they'd cast me—- I mean, I thought they'd go with one of the five guys who look like me but are movie stars".[31] He believes that an actor with a "proven track record" would likely have been chosen if another network had broadcast the show.[21] He went through numerous auditions; each time he explained to the casting directors what he could bring to the character, if given the part.[7] Alan Taylor and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner initially thought Hamm was too handsome for the role but ultimately decided, "it was perfect to cast sort of the perfect male in this part". Weiner also sensed that the actor had suffered early loss of his parents, which was similar to Draper's backstory.[3][32] Hamm says that he used memories of his father to portray Draper,[33] a well-dressed, influential man of business and society[8] hiding great inner turmoil[3] and experiencing changes in the world beyond his control.

Hamm in November 2008

Mad Men debuted on July 19, 2007, with almost 1.4 million viewers.[34] It developed a loyal audience, with Hamm receiving strong reviews. Robert Bianco of USA Today was complimentary of Hamm's performance, describing the actor's interpretation of Draper as a "starmaking performance".[35] The Boston Globe's Matthew Gilbert termed Hamm a "brilliant lead".[36]

For his work, Hamm won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama during 2008.[37] Also during 2008, he was nominated for both the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor and the Primetime Emmy Award[38] for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.[39] During 2009, Hamm was again nominated for the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award in the same category,[37][40] and received another Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.[41] During 2010, Hamm received his third Golden Globe Award nomination.[42] Mad Men concluded its seven-season run on May 17, 2015.[43] Hamm received his first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series on September 20, 2015 after receiving 12 Emmy nominations for acting for and producing the series.[44]

Hamm's next film role was for the 2008 science fiction movie The Day the Earth Stood Still, a remake of the 1951 film of the same name.[45] Although the movie received mixed reviews,[46] it was successful financially, earning $230 million worldwide.[47] Hamm hosted Saturday Night Live, season 34, episode 6, on October 25, 2008,[48] and played various roles, including Don Draper in two sketches.[49] He returned as host again on January 30 and October 30, 2010.[50][51] During 2009, Hamm guest-featured in three episodes of the NBC television situation comedy show 30 Rock, as Drew Baird, a doctor who is a neighbor and love interest of Liz Lemon's (Tina Fey).[52] For these performances, he received three nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.[53]

Hamm's first leading film role came with the independent mystery thriller Stolen in 2009, in which he played a police officer whose son has been missing for eight years.[54][55] Hamm had a minor voice role in the animated feature Shrek Forever After—released during May 2010—, as an ogre leader named Brogan.[56] Also that year, he appeared as an FBI agent in the movie The Town (2010), with Ben Affleck.[57] After having received "about 40 scripts that were all set in the 60s, or had me playing advertising guys", Hamm was pleased that the movie offered a role "the opposite to Don Draper".[58] The feature received generally favorable reviews[59] and earned $144 million worldwide.[60]

His next acting role was as defense attorney Jake Ehrlich in the independent film Howl, based on Allen Ginsberg's eponymous 1956 poem.[61] On December 12, 2010, Hamm made a guest appearance as an FBI supervisor on Fox's animated series The Simpsons.[62] He featured in Zack Snyder's action-fantasy film Sucker Punch (2011), as the character High Roller, and the doctor.[63] He also had a supporting role in the comedy Bridesmaids as Kristen Wiig's "rude and arrogant sex buddy".[64] Hamm was next seen in the independent feature Friends with Kids (2011), which he produced alongside his then-partner Jennifer Westfeldt.[65] The story concerns a group of friends whose lives are changed as the couples in the group begin to have children.

He had a recurring role in the situation comedy The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret in 2012, as the servant of socio-pathic billionaire Dave Mountford (Blake Harrison).[66] Hamm hosted the 21st ESPYS Awards on July 17, 2013.[67] The next year, he played sports agent J.B. Bernstein in Disney's sports drama Million Dollar Arm (2014).[68] He co-featured with Daniel Radcliffe in A Young Doctor's Notebook, playing an older version of Radcliffe's character, from December 2012 to December 2013.[69] In December 2014, Hamm guest starred in a special Christmas episode of the British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror, titled "White Christmas".[70] He had a number of roles during 2015, in the comedy shows Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. He was featured in the animated comedy Minions, as the voice of Herb Overkill.[71][72][73] Minions was a major box office success; despite mixed reviews, it grossed a total of over $1 billion worldwide.[74]

Hamm featured in the comedy Keeping Up with the Joneses, alongside Zach Galifianakis and Gal Gadot; the film was filmed during the spring of 2015,[75] and was released during October 2016 after being delayed seven months.[76][77] He appeared in the science fiction film Marjorie Prime,[78] which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Edgar Wright's comedy crime film Baby Driver,[79] which premiered at the 2017 South by Southwest Festival, and the drama Aardvark,[80] which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. In 2018, Hamm appeared in the drama Nostalgia and the political thriller Beirut.[81] Hamm appeared in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Goodbye, Krabby Patty?".

In 2017 Hamm joined the BBC and Amazon's television adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens as the Archangel Gabriel.[82]

Personal life[edit]

Hamm, with former partner Jennifer Westfeldt, at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards on September 21, 2008

Hamm was in a relationship with actress and screenwriter Jennifer Westfeldt from 1997[83][6][27] to 2015.[83]

In an interview discussion about his relationship with Westfeldt, Hamm said: "We may not have a piece of paper that says we're husband and wife, but after 10 years, Jennifer is more than just a girlfriend. What we have is much deeper and we both know that. To me, people get married when they're ready to have kids, which I'm not ruling out."[84] Along with Westfeldt, Hamm has appeared in Gap-related campaign advertisements.[85] During April 2009, Hamm and Westfeldt formed their own production company, Points West Pictures.[86][87] Hamm and Westfeldt are advocates of animal rescue and have adopted a mixed breed dog named Cora from the Much Love Animal Shelter in California.[88]

Although his role as Don Draper required Hamm to smoke, he stopped smoking when he was 24 years old.[89][90] On set he did not smoke actual cigarettes, but rather herbal cigarettes that do not contain tobacco or nicotine.[90][91]

During March 2015, Hamm's representative confirmed that Hamm had recently completed inpatient treatment for alcoholism.[92] Additionally, Hamm reported developing vitiligo during the filming of Mad Men.[93]

Sports and related endorsements[edit]

Hamm is an avid golfer and tennis player,[94] and a devoted fan of the National Hockey League (NHL) team, the St. Louis Blues; he's even appeared in two television spots advertising for the team.[95] He is a fan of the Major League Baseball (MLB) team the St. Louis Cardinals',[96] and narrated the official highlight movie for the 2011 World Series, won by the Cardinals.[97] Hamm also narrates the Amazon NFL documentary series All Or Nothing since 2015. Also, in 2012, he played in the MLB Legend and Celebrity All Star Softball game as a member of the NL. He represented the Cardinals, and hit a home run during the game.

Other product endorsements[edit]

During March 2010, Mercedes-Benz hired Hamm (replacing actor Richard Thomas) as their new voice actor for the S400 Hybrid campaign.[98] During 2013, American Airlines debuted a television commercial titled "Change is in the Air", featuring Hamm's voice-over. Hamm is an American Airlines frequent flier, and his Mad Men character Don Draper often spoke of aspiring to win such accounts as American Airlines.[99] Hamm has also appeared in several commercials in an ongoing ad campaign for H&R Block income tax services.

Reception[edit]

Internationally considered as a sex symbol, Hamm was named one of Salon.com's Sexiest Man Living in 2007[100] and one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive in 2008.[101] During November 2008, Entertainment Weekly named him one of their Entertainers of the Year.[102] He again was named one of the magazine's Entertainers of the Year during 2010.[103] Hamm also won GQ's "International Man" award during September 2010.[104]

Filmography[edit]

Hamm on the set of The Town in September 2009

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Space Cowboys Young Pilot No. 2
2001 Kissing Jessica Stein Charles
2002 We Were Soldiers Capt. Matt Dillon
2006 Ira & Abby Ronnie
2007 The Ten Chris Knarl
2008 The Day the Earth Stood Still Dr. Michael Granier
2009 A Single Man Hank Ackerley Uncredited voice[105]
Stolen Tom Adkins Sr.
2010 Shrek Forever After Brogan[56] Voice
The A-Team Agent Lynch Uncredited[106]
The Town Adam Frawley
Howl Jake Ehrlich
2011 Sucker Punch High Roller / Doctor
Bridesmaids Ted Uncredited[107]
2012 Friends with Kids Ben Also producer
2013 The Congress Dylan Truliner Voice
2014 Million Dollar Arm J. B. Bernstein
2015 Minions Herb Overkill Voice
2016 Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Himself Cameo
Keeping Up with the Joneses Tim Jones
2017 Marjorie Prime Walter Also executive producer
Baby Driver Buddy
Aardvark Craig Norman
2018 Nostalgia Will Beam
Beirut Mason Skiles
Tag Bob Callahan
Bad Times at the El Royale Laramie Seymour Sullivan
2019 The New Mutants Mister Sinister Post-production'
The Torture Report Post-production
Pale Blue Dot Mark Goodwin Post-production
2020 Top Gun: Maverick Filming

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 The Big Date Himself Contestant[108]
1997 Ally McBeal Gorgeous Guy at Bar Episode: "Compromising Positions"; uncredited
2000 The Hughleys Buzz Episode: "Lies My Valentine Told Me"
The Trouble with Normal Jackson Episode: "Pilot"
2000–2001 Providence Burt Ridley 18 episodes
2001 Early Bird Special Red-Headed Cop Episode: "Pilot"
2002 Gilmore Girls Peyton Sanders Episode: "Eight O'Clock at the Oasis"
2002–2004 The Division Inspector Nate Basso 16 episodes
2005 CSI: Miami Dr. Brent Kessler 2 episodes
Point Pleasant Dr. George Forrester 2 episodes
Charmed Jack Brody Episode: "Ordinary Witches"
2006 Numb3rs Richard Clast Episode: "Hardball"
Related Danny Episode: "Related"
2006–2007 The Unit Wilson James 5 episodes
What About Brian Richard Povich 6 episodes
2007 The Sarah Silverman Program Cable Guy Episode: "Muffin' Man"
2007–2015 Mad Men Don Draper 92 episodes; also producer and directed 2 episodes
2008–2015 Saturday Night Live Himself / Various 10 episodes
2009–2012 30 Rock Dr. Drew Baird / Abner / David Brinkley 7 episodes
2010 The Simpsons FBI Investigator (voice) Episode: "Donnie Fatso"
2010, 2012 Conan Don Draper 2 episodes
2010–2016 Childrens Hospital Derrick Childrens / Arthur Childrens 6 episodes
2011 Robot Chicken Various Voices 2 episodes
2012 The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret Himself 4 episodes
Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself Episode: "Jon Hamm Wears A Light Blue Shirt & Silver Watch"
Martha Speaks Ham Johnson (voice) Episode: "Cora! Cora! Cora!/Cora Encore!"
Metalocalypse Sultan Jamawa (voice) Episode: "Writersklok"
American Dad! Himself (voice) Episode: "Can I Be Frank (With You)"
Family Guy Himself (voice) Episode: "Ratings Guy"
2012, 2013 The Greatest Event in Television History Rick Simon / Ghost of Jon Hamm 2 episodes
2012–2013 A Young Doctor's Notebook Older Dr. Vladimir Bomgard 8 episodes; also executive producer
2013 Bob's Burgers O.T. (voice) Episode: "O.T.: The Outside Toilet"
Archer Captain Murphy (voice) 2 episodes
2013 ESPY Awards Himself (host) Television special
Clear History Will Haney Television film
2014 Web Therapy Jeb Masters 2 episodes
Black Mirror Matt Trent Episode: "White Christmas"[109]
2014–2015 Parks and Recreation Ed 2 episodes
2015–2018 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne 11 episodes
2015 7 Days in Hell Narrator (voice) Television film
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Falcon 4 episodes
Toast of London Himself Episode: "Hamm on Toast"
2016 Wander Over Yonder Cartoon Lord Hater (voice) Episode: "The Cartoon"
Angie Tribeca McCormick Episode: "Fleas Don't Kill Me"
All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals Narrator (voice) 8 episodes
The Last Man on Earth Darrell Episode: "General Breast Theme with Cobras"
2017 SpongeBob SquarePants Don Grouper (voice) Episode: "Goodbye, Krabby Patty?"
Tour de Pharmacy Narrator (voice) Television film
All or Nothing: A Season with the Los Angeles Rams Narrator (voice) 8 episodes
Big Mouth Scallops (voice) Episode: "I Survived Jessi's Bat Mitzvah"
Travel Man Himself Episode: "48 Hours in Hong Kong Christmas Special"
2018 Legion The Narrator (voice) 7 episodes
Barry Himself Episode: "Chapter Four: Commit ... to YOU"
Big City Greens Louis (voice) Upcoming series
Random Acts of Flyness Himself Episode: "What are your thoughts on raising free black children?"
2019 Good Omens Archangel Gabriel Upcoming miniseries

Music videos[edit]

Year Artist Song Role
2011 The Lonely Island (ft. Rihanna) "Shy Ronnie 2: Ronnie & Clyde" Bank Hostage
Herman Düne "Tell Me Something I Don't Know"
2012 Aimee Mann "Labrador" Tom Scharpling

Audiobooks[edit]

Year Title Author Role Notes
2017 Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View Paul Dini Boba Fett (voice) Title: "Added Muscle"[110]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result[111]
2007 Satellite Award Best Cast – Television Series Mad Men Won
2008 Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Television Series Drama Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Satellite Award Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
Television Critics Association Award Individual Achievement in Drama Nominated
2009 Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series 30 Rock Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Mad Men Nominated
Satellite Award Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
Television Critics Association Award Individual Achievement in Drama Nominated
2010 Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series 30 Rock Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Mad Men Nominated
National Board of Review Best Cast The Town Won
Satellite Award Best Actor – Television Series Drama Mad Men Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
2011 Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Cast The Town Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Drama Series Mad Men Won
Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
Television Critics Association Award Individual Achievement in Drama Won
2012 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
MTV Movie Award Best On-Screen Dirtbag Bridesmaids Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Drama Series Mad Men Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series 30 Rock Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Mad Men Nominated
Satellite Award Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
Television Critics Association Award Individual Achievement in Drama Nominated
2013 Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2014 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor: Drama Million Dollar Arm Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Drama Series Mad Men Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
2015 Television Critics Association Award Individual Achievement in Drama Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Won
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Nominated
2016 Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Television Series Drama Mad Men Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
Annie Award Voice Acting in a Feature Production Minions Nominated

References[edit]

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