Jon Hamm

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

Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm at PaleyFest 2014.jpg
Hamm at PaleyFest in 2014
Jonathan Daniel Hamm

(1971-03-10) March 10, 1971 (age 49)
Alma materUniversity of Missouri
  • Actor
  • producer
Years active1996–present
Partner(s)Jennifer Westfeldt
AwardsFull list

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 then had leading roles in Million Dollar Arm (2014), Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016), and Beirut (2018), and supporting roles in The Town (2010), Sucker Punch (2011), Bridesmaids (2011), Baby Driver (2017), Tag (2018), and Bad Times at the El Royale (2018). Hamm has received 16 Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his performances in or production of Mad Men, 30 Rock (2006–2013), and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015–2019).

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, Toast of London and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. He has also provided his voice for the animated films Shrek Forever After (2010) and Minions (2015), along with the second season of the FX series Legion (2018).

His subsequent works include portraying the angel Gabriel in the Amazon Prime Video miniseries television adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s book, Good Omens. In 2020, he played himself in episode 8, Season 10 of the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Early lifeEdit

Hamm was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Deborah (Garner) Hamm and Daniel Hamm.[3] His father managed a family trucking company, and his mother was a secretary.[4][5] He is of Irish, German, and English descent; his surname came from German immigrants.[6]

Hamm's parents divorced when he was two years old, and he lived in the St. Louis suburb of Creve Coeur with his mother[5] until her death from colon cancer when he was 10 years old.[7] Hamm then lived with his father and grandmother in Normandy, Missouri.[8]

His first acting role was as Winnie-the-Pooh in first grade.[9] At 16, he was cast as Judas in the play Godspell,[10] 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.[11] During this time, he dated Sarah Clarke, who became an actress.[12] When Hamm was 20, his father died.

After graduation in 1989 Hamm enrolled at the University of Texas,[13] 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.[14][15][16]

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' and do acting on weekends or at school.

— Jon Hamm[17]

Hamm later transferred to the University of Missouri.[13] 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.[11] Other roles followed, such as Leon Czolgosz in Assassins.[18]

Acting careerEdit

After graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English,[19] Hamm returned to his high school to teach eighth-grade acting.[5][11][20] One of his students was Ellie Kemper, who became an actress. Years later, Hamm appeared in Kemper's Netflix series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.[21]

Early workEdit

I came in the Dawson's Creek era; it was all about tiny guys who looked like teenagers, and I haven't looked like a teenager ever. So I was, like, auditioning to be their dads. At 25.

— Hamm, on not finding work as a young actor[22]

Not wishing to stay in a "normal career", Hamm relocated to Los Angeles permanently during 1995[23] with an automobile and $150.[12] He moved into a house with four other aspiring actors and began working as a waiter while attending auditions.[11] He acted in theatre, including as Flavius in a production of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens with the Sacred Fools Theater Company.[24]

Looking older than his age, he found it difficult to find work as an actor, despite representation by the William Morris Agency.[25][12][23][22] During 1998, having failed to obtain any acting jobs after three years,[4] he was terminated as a client by William Morris.

Hamm continued working as a waiter[11] and, briefly, as a set designer for a softcore pornography movie.[22] After repeatedly failing to get promising roles, Hamm set his 30th birthday as a deadline to succeed in Hollywood,[10] 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.[11]

During 2000, Hamm landed the role of romantic firefighter Burt Ridley on NBC's drama series Providence.[26][27] His one-episode contract grew to 19,[5][9] and allowed him to quit waiting tables.[12][25] Hamm made his feature movie debut with one line in Clint Eastwood's space adventure Space Cowboys (2000);[26][28] more substantial roles followed in the independent comedy movie Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)[29] and the war film We Were Soldiers (2002).[26][30] During filming of that movie, he turned 30.[10]

Hamm's 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.[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 said in an interview that he admired Hamm because he was persistent until he became successful as an actor.[31]

International recognitionEdit

Hamm landed his breakthrough role during 2007, when he was cast from more than 80 candidates[22] as the protagonist character Don Draper, in AMC's drama series Mad Men. In the series, set in a fictional 1960s Madison Avenue (“Mad”) advertising agency, he plays a suave, married 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".[33] He believes that an actor with a "proven track record" would likely have been chosen if another network had broadcast the show.[23] He went through numerous auditions; each time he explained to the casting directors what he could bring to the character, if given the part.[11] 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.[4][34] Hamm says that he used memories of his father to portray Draper,[citation needed] a well-dressed, influential man of business and society[9] hiding great inner turmoil[4] 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.[35] 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".[36] The Boston Globe's Matthew Gilbert termed Hamm a "brilliant lead".[37]

For his work, Hamm won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama during 2008.[38] 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[39] for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.[40] During 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] During 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 for and producing the series.[45]

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.[46] Although the movie received mixed reviews,[47] it was successful financially, earning $230 million worldwide.[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 as host again on January 30 and October 30, 2010.[51][52] 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).[53] For these performances, he received three nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.[54]

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.[55][56] Hamm had a minor voice role in the animated feature Shrek Forever After—released during May 2010—, as an ogre leader named Brogan.[57] Also that year, he appeared as an FBI agent in the movie The Town (2010), with Ben Affleck.[58] 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".[59] The feature received generally favorable reviews[60] and earned $144 million worldwide.[61]

His next acting role was as defense attorney Jake Ehrlich in the independent film Howl, based on Allen Ginsberg's eponymous 1956 poem.[62] On December 12, 2010, Hamm made a guest appearance as an FBI supervisor on Fox's animated series The Simpsons.[63] He featured in Zack Snyder's action-fantasy film Sucker Punch (2011), as the character High Roller, and the doctor.[64] He also had a supporting role in the comedy Bridesmaids as Kristen Wiig's "rude and arrogant sex buddy".[65] Hamm was next seen in the independent feature Friends with Kids (2011), which he produced alongside his then-partner Jennifer Westfeldt.[66] 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).[67] Hamm hosted the 21st ESPYS Awards on July 17, 2013.[68] The next year, he played sports agent J.B. Bernstein in Disney's sports drama Million Dollar Arm (2014).[69] 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.[70] In December 2014, Hamm guest starred in a special Christmas episode of the British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror, titled "White Christmas".[71] 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.[72][73][74] Minions was a major box office success; despite mixed reviews, it grossed a total of over $1 billion worldwide.[75]

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,[76] and was released during October 2016 after being delayed seven months.[77][78] He appeared in the science fiction film Marjorie Prime,[79] which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Edgar Wright's comedy crime film Baby Driver,[80] which premiered at the 2017 South by Southwest Festival, and the drama Aardvark,[81] which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. In 2018, Hamm appeared in the drama Nostalgia and the political thriller Beirut.[82] 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.[83]

Personal lifeEdit

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 to 2015.[7][29][84] In an interview discussing 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."[85] Along with Westfeldt, Hamm has appeared in Gap-related campaign advertisements.[86] During April 2009, Hamm and Westfeldt formed their own production company, Points West Pictures.[87][88] Hamm is an animal rescue advocate.[89]

Although his role as Don Draper required Hamm to smoke, he stopped smoking when he was 24 years old.[90][91] On set he did not smoke actual cigarettes, but rather herbal cigarettes that do not contain tobacco or nicotine.[91][92]

During March 2015, Hamm's representative confirmed that Hamm had recently completed inpatient treatment for alcoholism.[93] Additionally, Hamm reported developing vitiligo during the filming of Mad Men.[94]

Sports and related endorsementsEdit

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 movie for the 2011 World Series, won by the Cardinals.[98] 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. In 2018 he narrated the video The Saint Louis Browns: The Team That Baseball Forgot presented by the Saint Louis Browns Historical Society.[99]

Other product endorsementsEdit

During March 2010, Mercedes-Benz hired Hamm (replacing actor Richard Thomas) as their new voice actor for the S400 Hybrid campaign.[100] 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.[101] Hamm has also appeared in several commercials in an ongoing ad campaign for H&R Block income tax services.[102] He also appears in ongoing ads for SkipTheDishes.[103]


Internationally considered as a sex symbol, Hamm was named one of's Sexiest Man Living in 2007[104] and one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive in 2008.[105] During November 2008, Entertainment Weekly named him one of their Entertainers of the Year.[106] He again was named one of the magazine's Entertainers of the Year during 2010.[107] Hamm also won GQ's "International Man" award during September 2010.[108]


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 & 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[109]
2009 Stolen Tom Adkins Sr.
2010 Shrek Forever After Brogan Voice[57]
2010 The A-Team Agent Lynch Uncredited[110]
2010 The Town Adam Frawley
2010 Howl Jake Ehrlich
2011 Sucker Punch High Roller / Doctor
2011 Bridesmaids Ted Uncredited[111]
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 Marjorie Prime Walter Prime Also executive producer
2017 Baby Driver Jason "Buddy" Van Horne
2017 Aardvark Craig Norman
2018 Nostalgia Will Beam
2018 Beirut Mason Skiles
2018 Tag Bob Callahan
2018 Time of Day Himself Short film
2018 Bad Times at the El Royale Laramie Seymour Sullivan
2019 The Report Denis McDonough
2019 Lucy in the Sky Mark Goodwin
2019 Between Two Ferns: The Movie Himself Cameo
2019 The Jesus Rolls Paul Dominique
2019 Richard Jewell FBI Agent Tom Shaw
2020 Wild Mountain Thyme Adam Kelly
2021 Top Gun: Maverick Vice Admiral Cyclone Post-production
TBA No Sudden Move Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996 The Big Date Himself Contestant[112]
1997 Ally McBeal Gorgeous Guy at Bar Episode: "Compromising Positions"; uncredited
2000 The Hughleys Buzz Episode: "Lies My Valentine Told Me"
2000 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 66 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"
2006–2007 The Unit Wilson James 5 episodes
2006–2007 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 director and producer
2008, 2010 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) 3 episodes
2009–2012 30 Rock Dr. Drew Baird 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
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
2012–2013 A Young Doctor's Notebook Older Doctor 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
2013 T.U.F.F. Puppy Zach Snaptrap Episode: Rat Trap
2014 Web Therapy Jeb Masters 2 episodes
2014 Black Mirror Matt Trent Episode: "White Christmas"[113]
2014–2015 Parks and Recreation Ed 2 episodes
2015–2020 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Richard Wayne Gary Wayne 14 episodes
2015 7 Days in Hell Narrator (voice) Television film
2015 Wet Hot American Summer:
First Day of Camp
Falcon 4 episodes
2015 Toast of London Himself Episode: "Hamm on Toast"
2016 Wander Over Yonder Cartoon Lord Hater (voice) Episode: "The Cartoon"
2016 Angie Tribeca McCormick Episode: "Fleas Don't Kill Me"
2016 The Last Man on Earth Darrell Episode: "General Breast Theme with Cobras"
2016–2020 All or Nothing Narrator (voice) 40 episodes
2016–2018 The Amazing Gayl Pile C.A.M. (voice) 8 episodes
2017 SpongeBob SquarePants Don Grouper (voice) Episode: "Goodbye, Krabby Patty?"
2017 Tour de Pharmacy Narrator (voice) Television film
2017 Big Mouth Scallops (voice) Episode: "I Survived Jessi's Bat Mitzvah"
2017 Travel Man Co-host Episode: "Christmas episode in Hong Kong"
2018 Legion The Narrator (voice) 7 episodes
2018 Barry Himself Episode: "Chapter Four: Commit ... to YOU"
2018 Random Acts of Flyness Himself Episode: "What are your thoughts on raising free black children?"
2018 I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman Abraham Lincoln Episode: "Hall of Presidents"
2018 Big City Greens Louis (voice) Episode: "Big Deal"
2019 Good Omens Archangel Gabriel 5 episodes
2020 Medical Police Doctor Derrick Childrens Episode: "Mature Group Action"
2020 Curb Your Enthusiasm Himself Episode: "Elizabeth, Margaret, and Phillip"[114]
2020 Home Movie: The Princess Bride[115] Westley Episode: "Battle of the Wits"
2020 Sarah Cooper: Everything's Fine Steve Windell Television special
2020 Bless the Harts Mayor Webb (voice) Recurring role
2020 Marvel's 616 Himself Episode: "Lost & Found"
2021 Invincible Steve (voice)

Music videosEdit

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" Cadillac driver
2012 Aimee Mann "Labrador" Tom Scharpling
2020 Eels "Are We Alright Again" Man being burgled


Year Show Role Notes
2016 Oh, Hello On Broadway Understudy George St. Geegland Credit only


Year Title Author Voice role Notes
2017 Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View Paul Dini Boba Fett Title: "Added Muscle"[116]
2020 Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back Zoraida Córdova Boba Fett Title: "Wait for It"

Awards and nominationsEdit

Hamm has won an Emmy, two Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, among others.


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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit