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Jon Hamm (1971)

Jonathan Daniel Hamm

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  Summary  

Jonathan Daniel "Jon" Hamm is an American actor most noted for playing advertising executive Don Draper in the AMC drama series Mad Men, which premiered in July 2007. His performance on the show earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series in 2008.

  Biography  

 early life
Hamm was born March 10, 1971, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Daniel and Deborah Hamm. His father ran a family trucking company and his mother was a secretary. Hamm's parents divorced when he was two, and he lived with his mother in Creve Coeur, Missouri, until she was diagnosed with terminal abdominal cancer when he was 10. Hamm then moved in with his father, who died when Hamm was 20.

Hamm's first acting role was as Winnie the Pooh in first grade. At 16, he was cast as Judas in Godspell. Although he enjoyed the experience, he did not take acting seriously. Hamm attended John Burroughs School in Ladue, Missouri, where he was a member of the football, baseball, and swim teams. Following graduation in 1989, Hamm enrolled at the University of Texas, where he was a member of the Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity. Hamm returned home to attend the University of Missouri after his father's death. At Missouri, he auditioned for and won a role in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Other roles followed, including Leon Czolgosz in Assassins.

After graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Hamm returned to his high school to teach eighth-grade acting. One of his students was Ellie Kemper, an actress best known for her role on The Office.

 career
 Early work
Hamm relocated to Los Angeles in 1995. He moved into a house with four other aspiring actors and began waiting tables while attending auditions.

Finding employment as an actor was difficult despite representation by the William Morris Agency. In 1998, having failed to obtain any acting jobs after three years, he was dropped by William Morris. Hamm continued working as a waiter, and briefly took a job as a set designer for a softcore pornography film. After repeatedly failing to find acting jobs, he set his thirtieth birthday as a deadline to succeed in Hollywood, 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.

In 2000, Hamm was cast as firefighter Burt Ridley on NBC's drama series Providence. Hamm made his feature film debut in Clint Eastwood's 2000 space adventure Space Cowboys. His role consisted of one line. More substantial roles followed in the independent comedy Kissing Jessica Stein and the war film We Were Soldiers . Hamm played the recurring role of police inspector Nate Basso on Lifetime's television series The Division from 2002 to 2004. Other television appearances included roles in What About Brian, CSI: Miami, Related, Numb3rs, The Unit, and The Sarah Silverman Program.

 Breakthrough role
Hamm's breakthrough role came in 2007 when he was chosen from more than 80 candidates to portray protagonist Don Draper in AMC's drama series Mad Men, despite initial concerns by director Alan Taylor and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner that he was too handsome for the role. In the series, set in a fictional 1960s advertising agency, he plays a suave advertising executive with a mysterious past. 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."

Mad Men debuted July 19, 2007, with almost 1.4 million viewers. It quickly developed a loyal audience, with both the show and Hamm receiving strong reviews. Robert Bianco of USA Today was complimentary of Hamm, noting that his interpretation of Draper was a "star-making performance". The Boston Globes Matthew Gilbert called Hamm a "brilliant lead".

Hamm appeared in the 2008 science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still, a remake of the 1951 film of the same name. Although the film received negative reviews, it was financially successful, earning $230 million worldwide at the box office. Hamm hosted the sixth episode of Saturday Night Live on October 25, 2008, as well as on January 30 and October 30, 2010. In 2009, Hamm appeared in three episodes of the NBC comedy 30 Rock as Dr. Drew Baird, a neighbor and love interest of Liz Lemon, portrayed by Tina Fey. For his work on the sitcom, he received an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. On December 12, 2010, Hamm lent his voice to Fox's animated series The Simpsons, portraying an FBI supervisor.

Hamm's first leading film role was in 2009's Stolen, an independent mystery thriller in which he portrayed a father attempting to discover the circumstances surrounding his son's kidnapping. The Hollywood Reporters Frank Scheck stated that the feature never came together, and added that Hamm was unable to do much with his "underwritten role". Hamm had a voice cameo in the animated feature Shrek Forever After, released in May 2010, as an ogre named Brogan. Also in 2010, Hamm appeared opposite Ben Affleck as an FBI agent in The Town. Hamm was pleased that the film offered him a chance to play a role unlike that of Don Draper, explaining that he had received "about forty scripts that were all set in the 60s, or had me playing advertising guys." The film received generally favorable reviews and earned $144 million worldwide. Still another 2010 project found Hamm playing a defense attorney in Howl, based on Allen Ginsberg's 1956 poem of the same name. 2011 projects included roles in Zack Snyder's action-fantasy movie Sucker Punch and the independent feature Friends with Kids, directed by real-life love interest Jennifer Westfeldt, which he helped co-produce.

 personal life
Hamm has been in a romantic relationship with actress and screenwriter Jennifer Westfeldt since 1997. They own homes in Los Angeles and the Upper West Side of New York. In an interview, Hamm stated: "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." Hamm, along with Westfeldt, has appeared in Gap advertisements. In April 2009, Hamm and Westfeldt formed their own production company, Points West Pictures. The couple are advocates of animal rescue and adopted a dog named Cora from the Much Love Animal Shelter in California.

Although his role as Draper requires him to smoke, Hamm gave up smoking when he was 24. He revealed in an interview that while on set he does not smoke actual cigarettes, but rather herbal cigarettes that do not contain tobacco or nicotine.

Hamm was named Salon.com's Sexiest Man Living in 2007, and was named one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive in 2008. Hamm won GQ's 'International Man' award in September 2010 and was named one of Entertainment Weekly's Entertainers of the Year in 2008 and 2010.

Hamm is an avid golfer and a devoted fan of both the NHL's St. Louis Blues and the MLB's St. Louis Cardinals. He narrated the official highlight film for the 2011 World Series in which the Cardinals won.

In March 2010, Hamm replaced actor Richard Thomas as the voiceover for Mercedes-Benz' S400 Hybrid ad campaign.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Jon Hamm", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.