Mad Men is on its way out, but series star Jon Hamm is a timeless figure who will always be remembered for his portrayal of the unsympathetic but compelling Don Draper. It was the role of a lifetime, and while one may think everything is a breeze for the effortlessly cool Hamm, he went through the wringer to get where he is today, both professionally and personally. His life hasn’t always been perfect, but his attitude is, so here’s some proof that it just doesn’t get better than this feminist Missouri native.
10. He’s been with the same girl since 1997
Unlike his philandering character Don Draper, Jon Hamm is a one-woman guy and has been with actress Jennifer Westfeldt since 1997. Though they’re not interested in tying the knot, they’re in this forever. “Jen is the love of my life, and we’ve already been together four times longer than my parents were married,'” Hamm said in an interview with Parade in 2010. “I don’t have the marriage chip, and neither of us have the greatest examples of marriages in our families.” They seem genuinely happy, which is hard to come by in Hollywood!
9. He was adorable at the prom
Recognize his date? That’s Sarah Clarke from Twilight! What are the odds that two prom goers would grow up to be actors in big Hollywood productions? Don’t worry, Hamm recently told Jimmy Kimmel that he finds the whole thing just as unusual as we do, “We were just kids who went to a weird school in St. Louis, Missouri and, yeah, Sarah became famous for being on 24 and in the Twilight movies. That happened.” Maybe there is something magical about prom night after all.
8. He participated in a video series for Rookie
We all know Tavi Gevinson is cool, and Jon Hamm may as well be captain of her fan club. Two years ago, he contributed to Rookie’s “Ask a Grown Man” video series and answered a bunch of questions from young girls. He doesn’t have any daughters, but judging from this honest and funny footage, he’d make a good dad.
7. He doesn’t appreciate coverage on his private parts
Most men would love having a reputation of being well-endowed, and even though Jon Hamm might fall into that category, he would rather we focus on his work. Two years ago, the Internet went nuts over snapshots of Hamm in a pair of form-fitting pants, which seemed to highlight his genitals. Hamm didn’t like the attention when it started, and he’s really sick of it now. The actor recently told Men’s Fitness, “Would you want people walking up to you and pointing at your d–k? I can’t believe I’m still talking about this. But I’ve worn underwear every day of my life and the fact that I’m painted as this exhibitionist is a little annoying.” Not all guys want to be remembered as the guy with an impressive body. He wants to be remembered for his work.
6. He knows what it’s like to take crummy, “soul crushing” jobs
Before he was Don Draper on Mad Men, Hamm served as a set dresser for Cinemax soft-core-porn movies, which he labeled “soul crushing.” Many of us have been there, and the unfortunate times make the good ones that much brighter. Hence, Hamm is pleased with the way Mad Men has worked out for him, “This is the best job I’ve ever had and maybe ever will have in my life — it’s so fun to play all of this. It can be relentlessly dark. It can be terribly sexually inappropriate, is a way to say it. But who else gets a chance to do any of that stuff? There’s so much there.”
5. He also appeared on a dating show … and lost
If there’s something more cringe-worthy than scraping by with a “soul crushing” job, it’s going on a ’90s dating game show and getting rejected. In 1996, 25-year-old shaggy-haired Hamm was up against two other guys trying to snag a date with a girl, and his odd attempt at winning her over was a disaster. Asked how he’d woo a woman over on a first date, he said, “Start off with some fabulous food, a little fabulous conversation and end it with a fabulous foot massage for an evening of total fabulosity.” The girl looked repulsed and went with another contender, but I’m fairly certain she’s kicking herself for that decision right now.
4. He studied theater
Not only did Hamm attend the University of Texas for his craft, but he learned shortly afterward that the classroom doesn’t prepare students for everything. “‘I was a theatre major in college and they didn’t prepare you for the massive amount of rejection you have to go through,” he told The Observer in 2008. “Most people who are successful, like George Clooney and Brad Pitt, had to eat shit at a lot of auditions and still not get the parts. So you have to develop resilience. Especially for Mad Men, where it took seven auditions to get the part. People really needed convincing that they wanted me.” No one needs to be convinced ever again, that’s for sure.
3. He understands the pain of losing a parent early in life
My dad passed away when I was in high school, and as difficult as that experience was, it forced me to grow up. Hamm, whose mother died when he was even younger than that, had to leave college after the untimely death of his father. I wish his parents could have lived to see how great he’s doing, but his stage presence indicates a man wise beyond his years, and dealing with unspeakable tragedies as a child surely groomed him into a strong individual.
2. He’s worked with children before
I’ve had many jobs in my day and can say with certainty that working with children is the most difficult. Maybe Hamm would agree, as he’s had to watch younguns before as well, ‘I taught daycare when I was in college. I taught after-school stuff for little kids.” Hopefully they behaved themselves under his watch!
1. And he sacrificed bad habits for their benefit
In the same 2008 interview with The Observer, Hamm confessed he cut down on cigarettes as a result of working with kids, “I gave it up 10 years ago when I started teaching kids. I don’t miss the hacking cough in the morning or the mouth that tastes like cat litter, but I miss it when I’m on this show … In the show, we know smoking kills, but we don’t give a shit. These guys had three-martini lunches… I appreciate alcohol. I love the place that alcohol holds in our society, but I’d never attempt to drink as much as Draper.” And thank God for that!