Jon Hamm is one of the most likeable and humble stars today, but success didn't come easy for the Midwestern actor, who proved that patience really does pay.
Moving to Los Angeles in the mid-90s, it was more than a decade before Hamm landed "Mad Men" and became a breakthrough sensation. But ever since starring as the now iconic Don Draper, the actor has found work aplenty, appearing in hits like "The Town" and sitcom "30 Rock." This summer, Hamm is back on the silver screen in Disney's "Million Dollar Arm," where he stars as a sports agent trying to turn Indian cricket players into baseball stars.
From competing on a cheesy dating show to his surprising first movie director, here are 23 things you probably don't know about Jon Hamm.
1. Hamm was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Deborah and Daniel Hamm. His mother was a secretary, while his father ran a family trucking company.
2. His parents divorced when he was only two years old, and he continued to live with his mother during the week and his father on weekends.
3. Hamm's father was a larger-than-life character, who'd often bring Jon along to bars and clubs after he was through with work. Sadly, Hamm's mother succumbed to colon cancer when he was 10, and he went to live with his grandmother.
4. Hamm's first acting role was as Winnie the Pooh in first grade, which piqued the future "Mad Men" star's interest in acting. However, it would be many years before Hamm would take acting seriously.
5. Both an actor and football star in high school, Hamm turned down athletic scholarships to study English at University of Texas.
6. His high school prom date was actress Sarah Clarke, who is best known for playing agent Nina Myers in "24" and Bella Swan's mom in the "Twilight" series.
7. After his father passed when he was 20, Hamm left Texas and returned home to attend the University of Missouri. During this time, he responded to a casting call and successfully auditioned for a part in a theater production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
8. After graduating in 1993, he taught eighth-grade theater at his old high school. Ellie Kemper, who played Erin Hannon on "The Office," was one of his students.
9. Kemper and Hamm would later co-star together in the comedy hit "Bridesmaids" (2011).
10. He is good friends with Paul Rudd and even visited his fellow actor in Hollywood back in 1992, several years before Hamm would make the move out to Hollywood himself.
11. In 1995, he moved out to Los Angeles with a car and $150 in his pocket. He took up residence with four other aspiring actors and worked as a waiter while auditioning for roles.
12. Hamm admits he had a difficult time finding work mainly because he looked to old for his age. In an interview with Details magazine, Hamm said, "If you didn't look 18 years old, you weren't working. And I didn't look 18 years old when I was 18. I always looked 10 years older than I was."
13. After getting dropped by his talent agency, he even took a job as a set designer for a softcore pornography production.
14. His first movie role was a bit part in Clint Eastwood's "Space Cowboys" (2000). The future star only had one line.
15. When he was 25 years old, Hamm was even a contestant on a dating show! Here he is in an episode of "The Big Date" (1996). He was rejected...
16. Hamm has been on countless Sexiest Men Alive lists since hitting it big as the smooth-talking adman Don Draper on "Mad Men" (2007).
17. While he's never been married, Hamm has been with his longtime girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt since 1997.
18. Westfeldt is a successful actress in her own right, having starred in the indie hit "Kissing Jessica Stein" (2001) -- which she also co-wrote.
19. Don Draper, Hamm's character on "Mad Men" is always smoking, however, Hamm personally gave up the habit when he was 24. To combat the problem, he smokes herbal cigarettes that contain no tobacco or nicotine.
20. Don Draper's signature drink is an Old-Fashioned and, naturally, fans will send the drink over to Hamm when he's out. Interestingly, Hamm also isn't a fan of bourbon (the booze found in an Old-Fashioned) and opts for a Midori sour instead.
21. The actor's new film "Million Dollar Arm" may focus on baseball, but Hamm is a devoted fan of NHL team the St. Louis Blues. He's even appeared in two television spots for the team, like this one.
22. He also narrated the official highlight reel for the 2011 World Series, which his hometown St. Louis Cardinals won.
23. His voice work doesn't stop there, though. In 2010, Mercedes-Benz hired Hamm to be the voice for their new S400 Hybrid campaign and can be heard in this commercial. Something about his voice just exudes "elegance."
[Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, Digital Spy]
Article photo courtesy of Getty