Birthdate: March 10, 1971
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Jon Hamm (birthname: Jonathan Daniel Hamm) is firmly fixed in audiences’ imaginations as Don Draper, the complicated and ambitious ad executive at the heart of Matthew Weiner’s groundbreaking series, Mad Men (2007-2015). But his post-Mad Men career has shifted toward the movies, which isn’t surprising since Hamm has a gift for commanding the camera’s attention—perhaps the crucial ingredient that movie stars must have.
Hamm’s pre-Mad Men career proved the kind of tough slog experienced by almost all actors, starting with minor roles in such Hollywood movies as Randall Wallace’s We Were Soldiers (2002) with Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott, and Keri Russell; David Wain’s Ten Commandments anthology, The Ten (2007) with Paul Rudd, Liev Schreiber, Jessica Alba, Justin Theroux, Winona Ryder, Gretchen Mol, and Oliver Platt; The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) with Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, and John Cleese; the Allen Ginsberg biopic, Howl (2010), with James Franco, Jeff Daniels, and David Strathairn.
With Ben Affleck’s Boston crime drama, The Town (2010), Jon Hamm rose to co-star status with Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, and Blake Lively. He joined the mainly female ensemble for Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch (2011) with Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, and Oscar Isaac, followed by Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids (2011) with a high-wattage comedy ensemble including Kristin Wiig, Westfeldt, Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O’Dowd. Hamm was the name (and face) above the title of Disney’s Million Dollar Arm (2014), with Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton, and Alan Arkin.
Hamm committed to more indie projects after his Mad Men success, including Michael Almereyda’s Marjorie Prime, with Geena Davis and Tim Robbins, in which he was able to dive into a rich role in a sustained theatrical setting; Edgar Wright’s action comedy, Baby Driver (2017) with Ansor Elgart, Kevin Spacey, Jon Bernthal and Eiza Gonzalez; Tribeca festival contender Aardvark (2017), with Zachary Quinto and Marin Ireland; the Mark Pellington/Alex Ross Perry drama, Nostalgia (2018) with Ellen Burstyn, Bruce Dern, Catherine Keener, and Nick Offerman; and the Brad Anderson/Tony Gilroy thriller with Rosamund Pike, Beirut (2018), with Jon Hamm’s name above the title once again.
Jon Hamm has recently opted for a range of unclassifiable projects that mix and match comedy, drama, and action, with the nutty New Line release, Tag (2018) with Jeremy Renner and Ed Helms an ideal example; along with the twisted noir, Bad Times at the El Royale (2018); John Turturro’s The Jesus Rolls (2019); Noah Hawley’s intimate sci-fi Lucy in the Sky (2019) with Natalie Portman and Ellen Burstyn; Clint Eastwood’s docu-drama, Richard Jewell (2019); with Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan and Christopher Walken in John Patrick Shanley’s comedy-drama Wild Mountain Thyme (2020); and Steven Soderbergh’s crime comedy-drama, No Sudden Move (2021) with Don Cheadle and Benicio Del Toro. Jon Hamm returned to studio blockbuster movies with Tom Cruise in 2022 with the reboot, Top Gun: Maverick.
Jon Hamm’s parents were Deborah and Daniel Hamm. Deborah died when Hamm was ten; Daniel died when Hamm was twenty. After this loss, he suffered from severe chronic depression and alcohol dependency in his 20s. He has two sisters, Julie Schulte and Jennifer Hinze. Hamm studied acting at the University of Missouri, on scholarship. His height is 6’ 1 ¼”.
First Role: Jon Hamm’s first stage role, in the first grade, was Winnie-the-Pooh.
It’s A Job: Hamm worked as a set dresser on porn film sets.
One Day at a Time: Jon Hamm recovered from alcohol addiction in 2015, which had dogged him since a severe bout of depression in his 20s after the death of his father.
Non-smoker: Despite the fact that his Mad Men‘s Don Draper is a heavy smoker, Hamm quit smoking in his 20s, and used herbal cigarettes for the role.