Ever wondered about the man behind Don Draper, the actor who was nowhere and now everywhere? Here are 20 facts you must know about Jon Hamm.
- 1 1. Basics
- 2 2. Growing up
- 3 3. He could have gone to the big leagues
- 4 4. Jon Hamm is a man of many talents
- 5 5. His thoughts on therapy
- 6 6. Jon Hamm moves
- 7 7. His five year goal
- 8 8. Jon Hamm’s first features
- 9 9. He was a nobody for a while
- 10 10. The launch of Jon Hamm’s career
- 11 11. He doesn’t smoke in real life
- 12 12. Women
- 13 13. His thoughts on money
- 14 14. Jon Hamm’s issues with alcohol
- 15 15. Awards and accolades
- 16 16. He started a production company
- 17 17. He’s optimistic
- 18 18. For rent: Jon Hamm’s NYC apartment
- 19 19. Net worth
- 20 20. New features
Jon Hamm was born Jonathan Daniel Hamm on March 10, 1971, making him a Pisces. He was born an only child to an average family in St. Louis, Missouri.
2. Growing up
Jon Hamm’s parents divorced when he was two years old. He was primarily raised by his mother until he was just ten, when she sadly passed away from colon cancer. Afterwards, Jon Hamm went to live with his father and grandmother until he went to college. However, when Jon Hamm was twenty, his father unfortunately passed away as well.
3. He could have gone to the big leagues
Apparently, Jon Hamm was a football star in high school, and he had several offers to go Ivy for his talent. Instead, however, Jon Hamm decided to attend the University of Texas and transferred to the University of Missouri, closer to home, after his father passed away. Jon Hamm graduated in 1993 with a degree in English. Around this time, he started acting and was cast in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” his first theatrical production.
4. Jon Hamm is a man of many talents
In his early life, Jon Hamm had a few jobs before becoming a celebrity. As a teenager, he worked in a Greek restaurant where he waited and bussed tables. Jon Hamm claims this job taught him the value of respecting one’s work and colleagues. After college, Jon Hamm taught drama at his old high school, where he felt like he was giving back to his roots as well as sharing his passion for theater.
5. His thoughts on therapy
Jon Hamm is a strong proponent of therapy. After dealing with the death of his parents, Jon Hamm started to regularly see a therapist to work through his grief. Jon Hamm is now very open about his work with psychologists and believes that if anyone has the opportunity to speak with a therapist about their problems, they should.
6. Jon Hamm moves
In 1995, a few years after graduating college, Jon Hamm moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, with less than two hundred dollars to his name and everything he owned in his car. It would be quite a long time before he would be valued at his current net worth. The first couple years of Jon Hamm’s career were slow. In fact, Jon Hamm was dropped from his talent agency at one point and had to start working on set design in the adult filmmaking business to have a steady income before he landed himself any credible roles.
7. His five year goal
After a year or so in Los Angeles, Jon Hamm set a strict condition. He decided to give himself five years to make it in the acting business, and if after five years he was not a credited actor, he would move back home and find something else. Jon Hamm truly believed that, if after that amount of time he could not find solid work, he was not meant to be an actor. Actually, Jon Hamm claims that this mindset helped him start landing roles.
8. Jon Hamm’s first features
Jon Hamm’s first appearance in a major film was in 2000, when he was seen as the Young Pilot No. 2 in Clint Eastwood’s “Space Cowboys”. Jon Hamm appeared in the following year in the independent film, “Kissing Jessica Stein as Charles” (where he met his girlfriend of 18 years, Jennifer Westfeldt), and the year after as Captain Matt Dillon in Mel Gibson’s “We Were Soldiers”. While on set of Mel Gibson’s movie in 2000, Jon Hamm decided he had surpassed his five year ultimatum and stuck with acting.
9. He was a nobody for a while
The years after his first few features were still not incredibly kind to Jon Hamm’s acting career. When he auditioned for the part of Don Draper in “ Mad Men ” in the mid 2000s, he was essentially still an unknown actor. In fact, the AMC network producers and casting directors auditioned Jon Hamm several times before giving him the role because they knew they were taking a chance by gambling what they foresaw to be one of the biggest TV shows of the decade with an unknown actor.
10. The launch of Jon Hamm’s career
Despite being unknown, Jon Hamm became a success after “Mad Men” hit TV screens. He had been in Hollywood for ten years and was 36 when the AMC show premiered in 2007. The show ran for eight seasons, finishing in 2015. Jon Hamm plays Don Draper, an advertising man in 1960’s America living through the woes of working on Madison Avenue, New York. Draper is an alcoholic, a womanizer, and a greedy business man, but Jon Hamm plays him with such charisma that even if you dislike the character, you cannot help but be impressed. However, Jon Hamm does not identify with Don Draper’s character and is now content that he does not have to act as him anymore.
11. He doesn’t smoke in real life
Like many people in the ‘60s (and so many characters in “Mad Men”), Don Draper is a chain smoker. In this era, smoking cigarettes was a sign of class and ease, as well as a means of de-stressing after a rough day in the offices on Madison Ave. However, Jon Hamm himself does not smoke cigarettes. While he did smoke when he was younger, he quit in the mid-‘90s before he moved to Los Angeles.
Don Draper could seduce almost any woman into bed. But throughout most of his life, Jon Hamm has concerned himself with just one woman: Jennifer Westfeldt, whom he began dating in the late 1990s. Jon Hamm and the actress were together for eighteen years and had built a life together until they split in 2015. In interviews after their split, Jon Hamm repeatedly claims their breakup was incredibly hard for him. After their eighteen years of love, the “Kissing Jessica Stein” star and Hamm apparently broke up primarily due to differences in their plans of having a family. Both agreed to not include marriage in their future, but Jon Hamm wanted his future to include children. Jennifer Westfeldt, however, never thought children was a possibility, given their celebrity status and both of their family histories of death and divorce.
13. His thoughts on money
While Don Draper is driven by money, Jon Hamm could not be more different in terms of finances and net worth. He believes that making a lot of money and having a grand net worth should not be a goal in life, or at least it has never been for him. In interviews, Jon Hamm has shared that his family growing up had an average income, and he never considered them rich. Instead, Jon Hamm learned that money was a means to an end, not an obsession to have, as there are other things in life that will make a person happy.
14. Jon Hamm’s issues with alcohol
It seems that prior to his work on “Mad Men,” Jon Hamm did not have any substance abuse issues. However, playing the part of Don Draper transformed his relationship with alcohol. Jon Hamm claims that playing the 1960s businessman who had a thirst for alcohol took an emotional toll on himself. Having to think like the troubled Don Draper for eight years inevitably changed the way he thought at times, and Jon Hamm found himself falling into the habits of Draper. Jon Hamm, however, was strong enough to realize his addiction and checked into a thirty day rehab program for alcoholics in February 2015. He felt lucky to have Westfeldt remain supportive during his alcohol problems.
15. Awards and accolades
Jon Hamm instantly became a celebrity after first being seen as Don Draper, and his acting abilities were well recognized. Since the first season of “Mad Men”, Jon Hamm was nominated every year for the Emmy Award for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series but did not win until the final season in 2015. The role granted Jon Hamm other nominations and wins: he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Drama in 2008 (for the first season) and in 2015 (last season) and was nominated four other times in between. The role also granted Jon Hamm nominations from the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Satellite Awards, and the Critics Choice awards. Other acting parts have earned Jon Hamm further acting recognition. Jon Hamm has been Emmy nominated three times for his guest appearance in 30 Rock and once for a guest appearance in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”. MTV recognized Jon Hamm for his role in “Bridesmaids” and Teen Choice Awards for “Million Dollar Arm”. With all of these awards and nominations, it is safe to say that Jon Hamm has made himself a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood.
16. He started a production company
In 2009, Jon Hamm and his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Westfeldt started their own production company named Points West Pictures. With the two leading the business, their first film, “Friends with Kids” came out in 2011 and starred both Hamm and Westfeldt (as well as Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Christ O’Dowd, all three of whom would appear in “Bridesmaids” alongside Hamm in the same year). Other works from Points West Pictures include “A Young Doctor’s Notebook”. However, with only a few works to its name, the company has not had any recent films.
17. He’s optimistic
Jon Hamm is quoted to be a very laidback, optimistic guy. He believes life will work out somehow, even if it has to take a few turns before everything seems right. Jon Hamm has talked about topics like money and employment in this regard. Perhaps it was this optimism that helped Jon Hamm survive those first five to ten years of a sub-par acting resume before becoming an A-list celebrity.
18. For rent: Jon Hamm’s NYC apartment
In recent weeks, Jon Hamm has put his New York apartment on the market for $15,000 a month. It was where he and his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt had lived together, so perhaps he prefers to leave behind those memories. Jon Hamm resides in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, which he bought a house for an estimated $3.4 million.
19. Net worth
Jon Hamm has an estimated net worth of $35 million. That’s quite a hike up from the original $150 with which he first came to Los Angeles in the mid-’90s.
20. New features
Jon Hamm’s most recent feature was in the summer 2017 flick, “Baby Driver”. “Baby Driver” also starred Ansel Elgort and Lily James, and follows the story of a getaway driver who becomes part of a heist crew. Jon Hamm plays Buddy in “Baby Driver”. If you didn’t see Jon Hamm in “Baby Driver”, you can catch him in one of his three films coming out in 2018: “Beirut”, “Nostalgia,” and “Tag”.