Jon Hamm is an American actor whose success in the acting industry came as a result of his tenacity. In a bid to pursue a professional acting career, he moved to Los Angeles. However, due to his physical appearance, Jon was unable to land any roles, and consequently, he dropped by the agency after three years. Undeterred, he kept attending auditions while working as a waiter to make ends meet.
He finally got a role on NBC’s drama series Providence in 2000, and from there, his acting career took a turn for the better. Although he has appeared in numerous films and television series, Jon is widely known for playing the role of Don Draper, an advertising executive, in the series Mad Men; it aired on the AMC cable network from 2007 to 2015.
For his performance on the show, he won two Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama in 2008 and 2016. Also, he won the 2015 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. In addition to that, he has also been nominated 16 times for Primetime Emmy Award as a result of his performance on Mad Men, 30 Rock, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
The Tragic Beginnings of Jon Hamm
Born as Jonathan Daniel Hamm on March 10, 1971, in St. Louis, Missouri, the actor is the son of Deborah Garner and Daniel Hamm. While his father worked as the manager of a family-owned trucking company, his mother was a secretary. When he was just a two-year-old toddler, his parent’s marriage packed up. Following their divorce, he moved with his mother to St. Louis County in Creve Coeur, where they lived together until eight years later when his mother died of colon cancer.
Consequently, he moved in with his father in Clayton, Missouri, but sadly, when he was 20 years of age, death struck again, taking his father away and making him an orphan. John Hamm played his first acting role as Winnie the Pooh when he was in first grade. He later played the role of Judas in the play Godspell at age 16, and despite enjoying the experience, he did not regard acting as something important. As a student of John Burroughs School in Ladue, Hamm was part of the baseball, swimming, and football teams.
After he graduated from high school in 1989, Jon Hamm continued his education at the University of Texas. But he transferred to the University of Missouri after running into legal troubles via his fraternity, Sigma Nu.
During his time as a college undergraduate in Missouri, Jon Hamm responded to an audition advert for the production of the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream and succeeded in getting a role. He appeared in other roles like Leon Czolgosz in Assassins.
The Multiple Phases of Jon Hamm’s Professional Career
It might be hard to think of Jon Hamm today and imagine a time when he wasn’t successful. But hard as it might be, he is a late Hollywood bloomer, and there was a time he struggled like the rest of us common folk. During this time, he did ordinary jobs like teaching and waiting tables.
Life as a Teacher (1993 – 1995)
Upon graduating in 1993 with a B.A in English, he took a job in his high school as an eighth-grade acting teacher. Among his students was Ellie Kemper, who now stars with him in the television series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He was a teacher for two years before he summoned the courage to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles.
In 1995, he made a permanent relocation to Los Angeles because he did not want to remain in a “normal career” as his teaching job. In LA, he moved into an apartment with four other wanna-be actors, and rather than live his dream, he started the second phase of his professional career.
Hamm The Waiter (1995 – 2000)
It is not a particularly unique story. Millions of people head to Los Angeles every year to become professional actors but end up working minimum wage jobs. However, it is a tale one finds hard to attach with Jon Hamm. Yet, that was his story. His dream of becoming a professional actor took a while to materialize—precisely, five years.
Despite finding representation under William Morris Agency, one of Hollywood’s most influential and powerful talent agencies, he was unable to secure a role. To pay bills and eat, Jon Hamm began to wait tables, earning minimum wage and tips in between chasing auditions. After three years of being represented by WMA without success, he was struck off their client list in 1998.
He continued waiting on tables to support himself and also worked for a short time as a set designer for an adult movie. With his 30th birthday on the horizon, Jon Hamm finally found his breakthrough as a romantic firefighter in NBC’s Providence. Hamm initially had a one-episode contract, but it increased to 19 and became his ticket out of a life of waiting tables.
Finding Success as an Actor
After Providence, he made his debut film appearance in Space Cowboys. Other appearances followed, like Kissing Jessica Stein, The Trouble with Normal, The Division, Charmed, and several others. Eventually, in 2007, he found his breakthrough as a leading man in Mad Men.
He starred in the AMC drama between 2007 and 2015, appearing in 92 episodes. Not only did he become an internationally recognized star via the show, but he also earned several awards. For playing Don Draper, he got six Golden Globes nominations and won two. He also got twelve Primetime Emmy nominations and won one, amid several other award recognitions.
Having been thrust into the limelight with Mad Men, Jon Hamm’s filmography grew exponentially. So far, he has appeared in more than 100 movies and TV shows. His most significant roles outside of Mad Men include 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Good Omens, Million Dollar Arm, Minions, and several others.
Aside from his impressive filmography, Hamm also has more than 16 award wins to his name, and more than 86 nominations. But his successes are not just limited to his filmography and award resumé.
From Earning Tips to a Multimillionaire
At the peak of his time as Don Draper in Mad Men, he earned $275,000 in salary per episode. Combined with his high earnings across a filmography with more than 100 works, the actor has been able to amass an estimated net worth of $40 million. Not bad for a man who traveled to LA with $150 and a heart full of hope.
Aside from earnings via acting, thanks to his status as a sex symbol, he has attracted endorsements from multiple brands. The most notable is a $15 million deal with Mercedes. Other brands include H&R Block, American Airlines, and SkipTheDishes.
With his $40 million net worth, Jon Hamm has been able to afford some of the luxuries of life, such as owning a $2.45 million penthouse and a $3.37 million mansion in Los Angeles.
Dissecting Jon Hamm’s Extraordinary Love Life
Jon Hamm has never been married, but he has been in a long-term relationship that could count as one. He dated actress/screenwriter Jennifer Westfeldt from 1997 to 2015. They met during a mutual friend’s birthday party in the late 90s when both of them were still struggling actors.
During their time together, their bond was so strong that their relationship went beyond romance. The two of them established a production company, Points West Pictures, in 2009. They also appeared in ads together, most notably for Gap.
As a couple, they never shared any children, but their shared love for animals led them to adopt a dog, Cora. Sadly, after 18 years together, the couple called time on their relationship. To date, neither of them has shared any reason for the unexpected breakup.
He Might Be Dating January Jones
Since his relationship with Jennifer Westfeldt came to an end, tabloids and gossip columns have run wild about possible new relationships for the Hollywood superstar. Actresses like Elizabeth Moss and Sandra Bullock have been linked with him, but no fire shown up behind that smoke.
One rumor that appears to be gaining ground with evidence is one involving January Jones, a co-star on Mad Men. According to the story, the two of them had a connection during their time on the show, but he was in a relationship.
Since his relationship with Jennifer ended, they have reportedly advanced their friendship to romantic levels. Whether the two of them will become an official item remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, fans and Jon are tired of his single status.