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Jon Hamm

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Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm lightened and cropped.jpg
Hamm in 2014
Jonathan Daniel Hamm

(1971-03-10) March 10, 1971 (age 48)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materUniversity of Texas, Austin
University of Missouri, Columbia
OccupationActor, director, producer
Years active1996–present
Partner(s)Jennifer Westfeldt

Jonathan Daniel "Jon" Hamm[1] (born March 10, 1971)[2][1] is an American actor, director, and television producer best known for playing advertising executive Don Draper in the AMC 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 following year, he had a minor role in the independent comedy, Kissing Jessica Stein (2001). He gained wide recognition when Mad Men began airing in July 2007. His performance earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama in 2008 and 2016 and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2015. He 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 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 starring in the Sky Arts series A Young Doctor's Notebook and guest roles in Parks and Recreation and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. He provided his voice to the animated film Shrek Forever After in 2010, and in 2015, he starred in the animated film Minions.

Early life

Hamm was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Deborah and Daniel Hamm. His father ran a family trucking company, and his mother was a secretary.[3][4]

He is of German, English, and Irish descent; his surname originates with German immigrants.[5] Hamm's parents divorced when he was two years old, and he lived in Creve Coeur with his mother[4] until her death from colon cancer, when he was 10.[6] Hamm then moved in with his father.[7]

His first acting role was as Winnie the Pooh in first grade.[8] At 16, he was cast as Judas in 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 future actress Sarah Clarke.[10] His father died when Jon was 20.

Following graduation in 1989, Hamm enrolled at 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 that occurred in November 1990, involving another student, Mark Sanders. Sanders was beaten with a paddle and a broom, while Hamm was leading him around the fraternity house with the claw of a hammer beneath Sanders' genitals, and Sanders' clothes were set on fire.[12][13][14] The incident led to the fraternity's being shut down on campus.[12][13][14] Hamm completed the terms of a deferred adjudication, and the charges were dismissed in August 1995.[12][13][14]

Hamm then enrolled at the University of Missouri.[11] At Missouri he answered an advertisement from a theater company looking for players in 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

After graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts 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 would go on to star in the Netflix original series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, in which Hamm has a recurring role;[19] another was Beau Willimon, who became a screenwriter.[20]

Early work

Hamm has known actor Paul Rudd for many years,[10][22] and visited him in Hollywood in 1992. Not wishing to stay in a "normal career", Hamm moved to Los Angeles permanently in 1995[23] with an automobile and $150.[10] He moved into 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.[24] Finding employment as an actor was difficult, despite representation by the William Morris Agency,[25] because, unlike other actors his age, he could not be cast in youth-oriented productions like Dawson's Creek, due to his older appearance.[10][23][21] In 1998, having failed to obtain any acting jobs after three years,[3] he was dropped by William Morris. Hamm continued working as a waiter[7] and, briefly, as a set designer for a softcore pornography film.[21] After repeatedly failing to obtain promising roles, he 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]

In 2000, Hamm obtained the role of romantic firefighter Burt Ridley on NBC's drama series Providence.[26][27] His one-episode contract grew to 19,[4][8] and led him to quit waiting tables.[10][25] Hamm made his feature film debut with one line in Clint Eastwood's space adventure Space Cowboys (2000);[26][28] more substantial roles followed in the independent comedy Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)[29] and the war film We Were Soldiers (2002),[26][30] during filming of which he turned 30.[9] His career was further bolstered when he played the recurring role of police inspector Nate Basso on Lifetime's television series The Division, from 2002 to 2004.[26][27] Other minor roles followed on the television series What About Brian, CSI: Miami, Related, Numb3rs, The Unit, and The Sarah Silverman Program.[26][27] Hamm's Mad Men castmate Eric Ladin had said that one of the reasons he looks up to Jon is that while he "made it" later than most actors, Hamm never gave up on acting.[31]

International recognition

Hamm received his breakthrough role in 2007, when he was cast from more than 80 candidates[21] 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 advertising executive with an obscure past.[32]

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",[22] and that an actor with a "proven track record" would likely have been chosen if another network had aired the show.[23] He went through numerous auditions and explained each time 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 not been raised by his parents, similar to Draper's backstory.[3][33]

Hamm in November 2008

Hamm used memories of his father to portray Draper,[34] a well-dressed, influential figure in business and society[8] hiding great inner turmoil[3] and facing changes in the world beyond his control.

Mad Men debuted on July 19, 2007, with almost 1.4 million viewers.[35] It quickly developed a loyal audience, with Hamm receiving strong reviews. Robert Bianco of USA Today was complimentary of Hamm's performance, calling the actor's interpretation of Draper was a "starmaking performance".[36] The Boston Globe's Matthew Gilbert called Hamm a "brilliant lead".[37]

For his work, Hamm won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama in 2008.[38] Also in 2008, he was nominated for both the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor and the Primetime Emmy Award[39] for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.[40] In 2009, Hamm was again nominated for the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award in the same category,[38][41] and received another Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.[42] In 2010, Hamm received his third Golden Globe Award nomination.[43] Mad Men concluded its seven-season run on May 17, 2015.[44] 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 on and producing the series.[45]

Hamm's next film role was in the 2008 science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still, a remake of the 1951 film of the same name.[46] Although the film received mixed reviews,[47] it was financially successful, earning $230 million worldwide at the box office.[48]

Hamm hosted Saturday Night Live, season 34, episode 6, on October 25, 2008,[49] and played various roles, including Don Draper in two sketches.[50] He returned to host again on January 30 and October 30, 2010.[51][52]

In 2009, Hamm guest starred in three episodes of the NBC situation comedy show 30 Rock, as Drew Baird, a doctor who is a neighbor and love interest of Liz Lemon's (Tina Fey).[53] For these performances, he received three nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.[54]

Hamm's film projects post-2009 include the independent mystery thriller Stolen (2009) and his first leading role, in which he plays a man trying to demystify the circumstances surrounding his son's kidnapping.[55][56] The Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck stated that the feature never came together, and that Hamm was unable to do much with his "underwritten role".[57]

Hamm had a voice cameo in the animated feature Shrek Forever After (released in May 2010), as an ogre leader named Brogan.[58] Also that year, he appeared as an FBI agent in The Town (2010), with Ben Affleck;[59] after receiving "about 40 scripts that were all set in the 60s, or had me playing advertising guys", Hamm was pleased that the film offered a role "the opposite to Don Draper".[60] The feature received generally favorable reviews[61] and earned $144 million worldwide.[62]

His next acting role was as defense attorney Jake Ehrlich in the independent drama Howl, based on Allen Ginsberg's eponymous 1956 poem.[63] On December 12, 2010, Hamm made a guest appearance as an FBI supervisor on Fox's animated series The Simpsons.[64]

Returning to film, he appeared in Zack Snyder's action-fantasy movie Sucker Punch (2011), as the character High Roller, and the doctor.[65] He also had a supporting role in the comedy Bridesmaids as Kristen Wiig's "rude and arrogant sex buddy".[66] Hamm was next seen in the independent feature Friends with Kids (2011), which he produced alongside his then-partner Jennifer Westfeldt;[67] the story centers around a group of friends whose lives are changed as the couples in the group begin to have children.

He has a recurring role in the sitcom The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, as the servant of sociopathic billionaire Dave Mountford (Blake Harrison).[68] The role is later revealed to, in fact, be a fictionalized version of Hamm complaining that being made into Dave's servant has required him to be written out of four episodes of Mad Men.[citation needed]

Hamm hosted the 21st ESPYS Awards on July 17, 2013[69] and played sports agent J.B. Bernstein in Disney's sports drama Million Dollar Arm the following year.[70]

He co-starred with Daniel Radcliffe in A Young Doctor's Notebook, playing an older version of Radcliffe's character, from December 2012 to December 2013.[71] He had a number of roles in 2015, in the comedy shows Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, as well as the animated comedy Minions, as the voice of Herb Overkill.[72][73][74] Minions was a major box office success; despite mixed reviews, it grossed a total of over $1 billion worldwide.[75]

Hamm filmed the comedy Keeping Up with the Joneses in the spring of 2015,[76] which also stars Zach Galifianakis and Gal Gadot and was released in October 2016 after being pushed back seven months.[77][78] His other upcoming film roles include the drama Aardvark,[79] science fiction film Marjorie Prime,[80] political thriller High Wire Act,[81] and Edgar Wright's comedy crime film Baby Driver (all 2017).[82]

Personal life

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

In 1997, Hamm began a relationship with actress and screenwriter Jennifer Westfeldt.[83][6][29]

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 [should] 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] In 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] In September 2015, Hamm and Westfeldt announced they were ending their relationship.[83]

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

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

Hamm identifies as a Democrat.[94]

Sports and related endorsements

Hamm is an avid golfer and tennis player,[95] 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.[96] He is a fan of the Major League Baseball (MLB) team the St. Louis Cardinals',[97] and narrated the official highlight film for the 2011 World Series, won by the Cardinals.[98]

Other product endorsements

In March 2010, Mercedes-Benz hired Hamm (replacing actor Richard Thomas) as their new voice actor for the S400 Hybrid campaign.[99] In 2013, American Airlines debuted a 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.[100]


In an interview with Men's Fitness, Hamm said, "Look at [Justin] Bieber or whoever. You’re like, ‘What the f**k, man? What are you doing? Why?’ There’s no one telling those people no, and it’s a shame."[101]

Hamm told Elle UK, “We’re at a place where the idea of being ‘elite’ is somehow considered negative...Whether it’s Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian or whoever, stupidity is certainly celebrated.”[102] In an interview with Shortlist, he said, "All I can say is that I don’t get Miley Cyrus, I don’t get Katy Perry, I don’t get One Direction. I don’t get why that’s a thing." He did also express how it might make him sound. ""I’m getting older, I’m slowly morphing into that the guy who stands on his lawn and shakes his fist and shouts “Get off my lawn!”"[103]

Hamm said, "Someone recently made the comparison...the world's biggest Dodger fan in L.A. is pretty much equivalent to the average Cardinal fan in St. Louis. And I would only partly disagree with that exaggeration."[104]


Internationally viewed as a sex symbol, Hamm was named one of's Sexiest Man Living in 2007[105] and one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive in 2008.[106] In November 2008, Entertainment Weekly named him one of their Entertainers of the Year.[107] He again was named one of the magazine's Entertainers of the Year in 2010.[108] Hamm also won GQ's "International Man" award in September 2010.[109]


Hamm on the set of The Town in September 2009.


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 and Abby Ronnie
2007 The Ten Chris Knarl
2008 The Day the Earth Stood Still Dr. Michael Granier
2009 A Single Man Hank Ackerley (voice) Uncredited[110]
2009 Stolen Tom Adkins Sr.
2010 Shrek Forever After Brogan (voice)[58]
2010 The A-Team Agent Lynch Uncredited[111]
2010 The Town Adam Frawley
2010 Howl Jake Ehrlich
2011 Sucker Punch High Roller / Doctor
2011 Bridesmaids Ted Uncredited[112]
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
2016 Keeping Up with the Joneses Tim Jones
2017 Baby Driver Buddy Post-production
2017 Aardvark Craig Norman Post-production
2017 Marjorie Prime Post-production
2017 High Wire Act Mason Skiles Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1996 The Big Date Himself Contestant[113]
1997 Ally McBeal That Guy Episode: "Compromising Positions"
2000 The Trouble with Normal Jackson Episode: "Pilot"
2000 The Hughleys Buzz Episode: "Lies My Valentine Told Me"
2000–01 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"
2002–04 The Division Inspector Nate Basso 16 episodes
2005 CSI: Miami Dr. Brent Kessler 2 episodes
2005 Point Pleasant Dr. George Forrester 2 episodes
2005 Charmed Jack Brody Episode: "Ordinary Witches"
2006 Numb3rs Richard Clast Episode: "Hardball"
2006 Related Danny Episode: "Related"
2006–07 The Unit Wilson James 5 episodes
2006–07 What About Brian Richard Povich 6 episodes
2007 The Sarah Silverman Program Cable Guy Episode: "Muffin' Man"
2007–15 Mad Men Don Draper 92 episodes; also producer
2008–15 Saturday Night Live Himself / Various roles 10 episodes
2009–12 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
2010–16 Childrens Hospital Derrick Childrens / Arthur Childrens 6 episodes
2011 Robot Chicken Various voices 2 episodes
2012 The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret Himself / Dave's Employee 4 episodes
2012 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself Episode: "Jon Hamm Wears A Light Blue Shirt & Silver Watch"
2012 Martha Speaks Ham Johnson (voice) Episode: "Cora! Cora! Cora!/Cora Encore!"
2012 Metalocalypse Sultan Jamawa (voice) Episode: "Writersklok"
2012 American Dad! Himself (voice) Episode: "Can I Be Frank (With You)"
2012 Family Guy Himself (voice) Episode: "Ratings Guy"
2012, 2013 The Greatest Event in Television History Rick Simon / Ghost of Jon Hamm 2 episodes
2012–13 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"
2013 Archer Captain Murphy (voice) 2 episodes
2013 2013 ESPY Awards Himself (host) Television special
2013 Clear History Will Haney Television film
2014 Web Therapy Jeb Masters 2 episodes
2014 Black Mirror Matt Trent Episode: "White Christmas"[114]
2014, 2015 Parks and Recreation Ed 2 episodes
2015–16 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne 7 episodes
2015 7 Days in Hell Narrator Television film
2015 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Falcon 4 episodes
2015 Toast of London Himself Episode: "Hamm on Toast"
2016 SpongeBob Squarepants Don Grouper (voice) Episode: "Factory Fresh"
2016 Wander Over Yonder Cartoon Lord Hater (voice) Episode: "The Cartoon"
2016 Angie Tribeca McCormick Episode: "Fleas Don't Kill Me"
2016 All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals Narrator 8 episodes
2016 The Last Man on Earth Darrell Episode: "General Breast Theme with Cobras"

Music videos

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

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result[115]
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


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Further reading

External links