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Jon Hamm Biography

Home > Actors > H > Hamm, Jon > Biography

Birth Name: Jon Hamm
Born: 03/10/1971
Birth Place: St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Born in St. Louis, MO in 1971, Hamm was orphaned by the age of 20. Inheriting a trust from his late mother, Hamm attended the John Burroughs School, a prestigious private prep academy. After graduating with an English degree from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Hamm returned to the Burroughs School to teach, having been inspired by the education he had received there. For the next year he worked at the school as a faculty drama teacher. Moving out to L.A. in the 1990s, Hamm suffered through a three year lull before work started rolling in. After a couple of unsuccessful pilots, Hamm caught his big break in 2000, landing a semi-regular role as romantic firefighter Burt Ridley, on "Providence" (NBC, 1999-2002). That led to Hamm's next engagement, a two-season gig as Police Inspector Nate Basso on "The Division" (Lifetime, 2001-04). From there, it was a steady domino effect of employment. Over the next few years, Hamm popped up as a guest star on such hit series as "CSI: Miami" (CBS, 2002- ), "Related" (The WB, 2005-06), "Numb3rs" (CBS, 2005-2010) and "The Sarah Silverman Program" (Comedy Central, 2007-2010). "The hardest part was just getting that first domino to fall," Hamm later jokingly recalled .

And it was not over. A successful six-episode recurring arc on the short-lived ABC dramedy "What About Brian" (2006-07) led Hamm to another comfortable semi-regular gig on the Emmy-nominated espionage drama, "The Unit" (CBS, 2006-09). In 2007, Hamm was tapped by Matthew Weiner, a former writer-producer for "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007), to star in his new cable series "Mad Men." In it, Hamm played Don Draper, the embattled creative director of the fictional Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency. Set in the early 1960s, the show followed Draper as he struggled to keep his controversial but lucrative tobacco account from leaving the firm, while at the same time, struggling to maintain order amid the mounting chaos of his home life. So impressive was his work, he won a Best Actor Golden Globe in early 2008 and received his first Emmy nomination for his season one work later in the year.

Though he was a much lesser player on the big screen, Hamm nevertheless had a showy role as Captain Matt Dillon in the 2002 war epic, "We Were Soldiers." Hamm's best known feature work, however, was probably his supporting turn in the 2002 romantic comedy "Kissing Jessica Stein," in which he played Charles, a hapless would-be suitor for the title character - played coincidentally by the actor's real-life longtime girlfriend, Jennifer Westfeldt. After a small supporting part in the low budget indie, "Ira & Abby" (2007), Hamm landed a high-profile role as NASA official Dr. Michael Granier in the blockbuster remake of the 1951 sci-fi movie, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (2008). In 2009, Hamm sought redemption for his Emmy loss to Bryan Cranston the previous year when he was again nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his exquisite portrayal of the complicated Don Draper on "Mad Men," as well as Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award nods.

On the comedy side of the ledger, he earned another Emmy nod that year in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series category for his performance as Liz Lemon's (Tina Fey) neighbor and love interest Dr. Drew Baird on "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006-2013). Back on the big screen, Hamm was part of the ensemble cast of director and star Ben Affleck's excellent crime thriller, "The Town" (2010), in which he played an FBI agent on the trail of a team of career criminals headed by a conflicted thief (Affleck). In 2011, Hamm received a Critics' Choice TV Award for Best Actor as well as yet another Emmy nomination for his work on "Mad Men." Meanwhile, he reprised Dr. Drew Baird on "30 Rock" and returned to feature films, playing a client/doctor known as The High Roller in the critically maligned action fantasy "Sucker Punch" (2011). Following an uncredited and hilarious appearance in the surprise hit comedy "Bridesmaids" (2011), Hamm joined Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Megan Fox and Edward Burns for the indie ensemble comedy "Friends with Kids" (2012), which was directed by Hamm's longtime love, Jennifer Westfeldt. As "Mad Men" cruised into its final season, Hamm took a change of pace big screen role as a sports agent searching for potentional Major League Baseball players among the cricketers of India in the heartwarming fact-based sports drama "Million Dollar Arm" (2014).