Jon Hamm

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Jon Hamm
A close-up of Hamm smiling wearing a hat
Hamm at the Vancouver Olympics in February 2010
BornJonathan Daniel Hamm
(1971-03-10) March 10, 1971 (age 41)
St. Louis, Missouri
United States
Alma materUniversity of Missouri
OccupationActor
Years active2000–present
PartnerJennifer Westfeldt (1997–present)
 
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Jon Hamm
A close-up of Hamm smiling wearing a hat
Hamm at the Vancouver Olympics in February 2010
BornJonathan Daniel Hamm
(1971-03-10) March 10, 1971 (age 41)
St. Louis, Missouri
United States
Alma materUniversity of Missouri
OccupationActor
Years active2000–present
PartnerJennifer Westfeldt (1997–present)

Jonathan Daniel "Jon" Hamm (born March 10, 1971) is an American actor and director. For much of the mid-1990s, Hamm lived in Los Angeles as a struggling actor appearing in small parts in multiple television series, including Providence, The Division, What About Brian and Related. In 2000 he made his feature film debut in Clint Eastwood's space adventure, Space Cowboys. The following year, Hamm appeared in the independent comedy, Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) in a minor role.

Hamm gained recognition for playing advertising executive Don Draper in the AMC drama series Mad Men, which premiered in July 2007. His performance earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series in 2008. That same year, Hamm appeared in a remake of the science fiction classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. His first leading film role was in the 2010 independent thriller Stolen. Hamm had a supporting role in The Town (2010), Sucker Punch (2011), and Bridesmaids (2011). He has also directed several episodes of Mad Men.

Contents

Early life

Hamm was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Daniel and Deborah Hamm. His father ran a family trucking company and his mother was a secretary.[1][2] Hamm's parents divorced when he was two, and he lived with his mother in Creve Coeur, Missouri,[2] until she was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer when he was 10.[3] Hamm then moved in with his father,[4] who died when Hamm was 20.

Acting was fun, but my grandfather would always tell me, 'It's never too late to be an engineer.' You were supposed to get a 'job' job and do acting on weekends or at school.

—Hamm's early view of acting[5]

Hamm attended the private John Burroughs School in Ladue, Missouri, where he was a member of the football, baseball, and swim teams[4] and dated future actress Sarah Clarke.[6] Hamm's first acting role was as Winnie the Pooh in first grade;[7] at 16, he was cast as Judas in Godspell,[8] and enjoyed the experience, though he did not take acting seriously. Following graduation in 1989, Hamm enrolled at the University of Texas,[9] where he was a member of the Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity.[10] Hamm returned home to attend the University of Missouri after his father's death.[9] 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.[4] Other roles followed, such as Leon Czolgosz in Assassins.[11]

After graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English,[12] Hamm returned to his high school to teach eighth-grade acting as a gesture of repayment for the school's support during his adolescent years.[2][4][13] One of his students was Ellie Kemper, an actress best known for her role on The Office.[14]

Career

Early work

Hamm has known actor Paul Rudd for many years,[6][15] and visited Hollywood to see him in 1992. Not wishing to stay in a "normal career", Hamm moved to Los Angeles permanently in 1995[16] with an automobile and $150.[6] He moved into a house with four other aspiring actors and began working as a waiter while attending auditions.[4]

If you didn't look 18 years old, you weren't working. And I didn't look 18 years old when I was 18. I always looked 10 years older than I was ... so I was, like, auditioning to be their dads. At 25.

—-Hamm, on his inability to find work as a young actor[16][17]

Finding employment as an actor was difficult despite representation by the William Morris Agency[18] because, unlike other actors his age, he could not be cast in youth-oriented productions like Dawson's Creek due to his older appearance.[6] In 1998, having failed to obtain any acting jobs after three years,[1] he was dropped by William Morris. Hamm continued working as a waiter,[4] and briefly as a set designer for a softcore pornography film.[17] After repeatedly failing to obtain promising roles, he set his 30th birthday as a deadline to succeed in Hollywood,[8] observing that:

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.[4]

In 2000, Hamm obtained the role of romantic firefighter Burt Ridley on NBC's drama series Providence.[19][20] His one-episode contract grew to 19,[2][7] and led him to quit waiting tables.[6][18] Hamm made his feature film debut with one line in Clint Eastwood's space adventure Space Cowboys (2000);[19][21] more substantial roles followed in the independent comedy Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)[22] and the war film We Were Soldiers (2002),[19][23] during filming of which he turned 30.[8] 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.[19][20] Other minor roles followed on the television series What About Brian, CSI: Miami, Related, Numb3rs, The Unit, and The Sarah Silverman Program.[19][20] 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.[24]

Worldwide recognition

Hamm received his breakthrough role in 2007 when he was cast from more than 80 candidates[17] 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.[25] Hamm 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",[15] and that an actor with a "proven track record" would likely have been chosen if another network had aired the show.[16] He went through numerous auditions, and explained each time to the casting directors what he could bring to the character, if given the part.[4] Alan Taylor and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner thought that Hamm was too handsome for the role, but decided that "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.[1][26]

Hamm in November 2008

Hamm used memories of his father to portray Draper,[27] a well-dressed, influential figure in business and society[7] hiding great inner turmoil[1] and facing changes in the world beyond his control. Mad Men debuted on July 19, 2007, with almost 1.4 million viewers.[28] It quickly developed a loyal audience, with the show and Hamm receiving strong reviews. Robert Bianco of USA Today was complimentary of Hamm, noting that his interpretation of Draper was a "starmaking performance".[29] The Boston Globe's Matthew Gilbert called Hamm a "brilliant lead".[30] For his work, he won a Golden Globe Award in the category of Best Actor in a Television Series Drama in 2008.[31] Also in 2008 he was nominated for both a Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor and an Emmy[32] award for Outstanding Lead Actor.[33] In 2009, Hamm was again nominated for a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award in the same categories,[31][34] and received another Emmy nomination for Best Actor.[35] In 2010, Hamm received his third Golden Globe nomination.[36]

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.[37] Although the film received mixed reviews,[38] it was financially successful, earning $230 million worldwide at the box office.[39] Hamm hosted the sixth episode of the 34th season of Saturday Night Live on October 25, 2008.[40] He played various roles, including Don Draper in two sketches.[41] He returned to host again on January 30 and October 30, 2010.[42][43] 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).[44] For these performances, he received an Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.[45]

Hamm's film projects post 2009 included the independent mystery thriller Stolen and his first leading role, in which he plays a man trying to demystify the circumstances surrounding his son's kidnapping.[46][47] The Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck stated that the feature never came together, and said that Hamm was unable to do much with his "underwritten role".[48] Hamm had a voice cameo in the animated feature Shrek Forever After, released in May 2010, as an ogre leader named Brogan.[49] He appeared as an FBI agent in The Town with Ben Affleck;[50] 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".[51] The feature received generally favorable reviews,[52] and earned $144 million worldwide.[53] His next acting role was as defense attorney Jake Ehrlich in the independent drama Howl, based on Allen Ginsberg's 1956 poem of the same name.[54] On December 12, 2010, Hamm made a guest appearance as an FBI supervisor on Fox's animated series The Simpsons.[55] Returning to film, he appeared in Zack Snyder's 2011 action-fantasy movie Sucker Punch, as the character High Roller, and the doctor.[56] He also had a supporting role in the comedy Bridesmaids as Kristen Wiig's "rude and arrogant sex buddy".[57] Hamm was next seen in the independent feature Friends with Kids (2011) which he produced alongside partner Jennifer Westfeldt.[58] 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),[59] the role of which is later revealed to in fact be a fictionalized version of Hamm, complaining that being made into Dave's servant has made him need to be written out of four episodes of Mad Men. Hamm will play sports agent J.B. Bernstein in Disney's sports drama The Million Dollar Arm.[60]

Personal life

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

Since 1997, Hamm has been in a long-term relationship with actress and screenwriter Jennifer Westfeldt.[3] They own homes in Los Angeles and the Upper West Side in New York.[3][22] 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."[61] Hamm, along with Westfeldt, has appeared in Gap related campaign advertisements.[62] In April 2009, Hamm and Westfeldt formed their own production company, Points West Pictures.[63][64] Hamm and Westfeldt are advocates of animal rescue and have adopted their own dog, a mutt named Cora, from the Much Love Animal Shelter in California.[65]

Although his role as Don Draper requires him to smoke, Hamm gave up smoking when he was 24.[66][67] He revealed in an interview that while on set he does not smoke actual cigarettes, but herbal cigarettes that do not contain any tobacco or nicotine.[67][68] Hamm has vitiligo.[69]

Internationally viewed as a sex symbol, Hamm was named one of Salon.com's Sexiest Man Living in 2007,[70] and was named one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive in 2008.[71] Hamm also won GQ's 'International Man' award in September 2010.[72] In November 2008, Entertainment Weekly named him one of their Entertainers of the Year.[73] He again was named one of the magazine's Entertainers of the Year in 2010.[74] Hamm is an avid golfer and tennis player.[75] He is a devoted fan of the National Hockey League (NHL) team the St. Louis Blues, even appearing in two television spots advertising for the team.[76] He is also a fan of the Major League Baseball (MLB) team the St. Louis Cardinals, [77] and narrated the official highlight film for the 2011 World Series which the Cardinals won.

In March 2010, Hamm was hired by Mercedes-Benz as their new voiceover for their campaign with the S400 Hybrid vehicle. Hamm replaced actor Richard Thomas.[78]

Hamm and his partner both identify themselves as Democrats[79]

Filmography

Hamm on the set of The Town in September 2009

Feature films

YearTitleRoleNotes
2000Space CowboysYoung Pilot No.2
2001Kissing Jessica SteinCharles
2002We Were SoldiersCapt. Matt Dillon
2006Ira and AbbyRonnie
2007The TenSkydiving Guide Chris Knarl
2008The Day the Earth Stood StillDr. Michael Granier
2009A Single ManHank AckerleyVoice Only
Uncredited[80]
2010StolenTom Adkins Sr.
Shrek Forever AfterBroganVoice Only[49]
The A-TeamCol. LynchUncredited[81]
The TownAdam Frawley
HowlJake Ehrlich
2011Sucker PunchHigh Roller/Doctor
Bridesmaids[82]TedUncredited
2012Friends with KidsBenAlso Producer
2013The Congress
UnknownMillion Dollar ArmJ.B. Bernstein

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1997Ally McBealThat GuySeason 1, Episode 2 - "Compromising Positions"
2000ProvidenceBurt Ridley
The Trouble with NormalJackson
The HughleysBuzzEpisode: "Lies My Valentine Told Me"
2001Early Bird SpecialRed-Headed CopEpisode: "Pilot"
2002The DivisionInspector Nate Basso
Gilmore GirlsPeyton SandersEpisode: "Eight O'Clock at the Oasis"
2005CSI: MiamiDr. Brent KesslerEpisode: "Three-Way"
Episode: "Payback"
Point PleasantDr. George ForresterEpisode: "Who's Your Daddy"
Episode: "The Lonely Hunter"
CharmedJack BrodyEpisode: "Ordinary Witches"
2006The UnitWilson James
What About BrianRichard Povich
Numb3rsRichard ClastEpisode: "Hardball"
RelatedDannyEpisode: "Related"
2007The Sarah Silverman ProgramCable GuyEpisode: "Muffin' Man"
2007–presentMad MenDon DraperMain character
Critics' Choice Television Award for Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2011)
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2008)
Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2009, 2011)
Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama (2011)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2009-2010)
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2009-2011)
Nominated - Critics' Choice Television Award for Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2012)
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series (2012)
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2008-2012)
Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama (2008-2009)
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series(2008,2011)
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (2008-2011)
Nominated - Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama(2008-2010)
2008-2012Saturday Night LiveHost/Various
2009–201230 RockDr. Drew Baird/Abner/David BrinkleyNominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2009-2010, 2012)
Episode: "Generalissimo"
Episode: "St. Valentine's Day"
Episode: "The Bubble"
Episode: "Anna Howard Shaw Day"
Episode: "Emanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land"
Episode: "Live Show"
Episode: "Live from Studio 6H"
2010Childrens HospitalDerrick ChildrensEpisode: "The Sultan's Finger"
Episode: "Run, Dr. Lola Spratt, Run"
The SimpsonsFBI InvestigatorEpisode: "Donnie Fatso"
2012The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd MargaretHimselfEpisode: "Todd’s Terrible Day Ends and His Next Terrible Day Begins"
Episode: "How The Liver and The Salad Conspired to Ruin Todd’s Good Deed"
Episode: "In Which Todd Accidentally Learns a Secret and Brent and Doug Get Closer to Further From the Truth"
Episode: "The Crime Scene, The Storyteller and the Sanctimonious Tower of Morality"
MetalocalypseEpisode: "Writersklok"
2013A Young Doctor's NotebookOlder Dr. Vladimir BomgardFilming; Four episode mini-series

Music Videos

YearArtistVideoRoleNotes
2011The Lonely Island"Shy Ronnie 2: Ronnie & Clyde" (ft. Rihanna)Bank Hostagecameo, gets picked up by Rihanna.
Herman Düne"Tell Me Something I Don't Know"Non-specificlead

Awards and nominations

YearNominated workAwardResult[83]
2008Mad MenPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated
Mad MenGolden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series DramaWon
Mad MenSatellite Award for Best Actor - Television Series DramaNominated
Mad MenScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesNominated
Mad MenScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated
Mad MenTelevision Critics Association Individual Achievement in DramaNominated
2009Mad MenPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated
30 RockPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Mad MenGolden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series DramaNominated
Mad MenGolden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama SeriesWon
Mad MenSatellite Award for Best Actor - Television Series DramaNominated
Mad MenScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesWon
Mad MenScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated
Mad MenTelevision Critics Association Individual Achievement in DramaNominated
2010Mad MenPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated
30 RockPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Mad MenGolden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series DramaNominated
Mad MenScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesWon
Mad MenScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated
Mad MenTelevision Critics Association Individual Achievement in DramaNominated
2011Mad MenGolden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series DramaNominated
Mad MenScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesNominated
Mad MenScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated
Mad MenGolden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama SeriesWon
Mad MenCritics' Choice Television Award Lead Actor in a Drama SeriesWon
Mad MenTelevision Critics Association Individual Achievement in DramaWon
Mad MenPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated
2012Mad MenCritics' Choice Television Award Lead Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated
Mad MenPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated
Saturday Night LivePrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated

References

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Further reading

External links