Date of Birth 10 March 1971, St. Louis, Missouri, USA Birth Name Jonathan Daniel Hamm Height 6' 0½" (1.84 m) Trade Mark Dark hair Magnetic green eyes Deep stern voice Usually plays intelligent, easy-going, and often handsome characters. Trivia Became interested in acting in the first grade, when he was handpicked to play Winnie-the-Pooh. Received a scholarship to study acting at the University of Missouri. Worked as a day-care teacher during college and, before moving to Hollywood, was a high school teacher. Is an avid golfer, as well as a big football fan. Role models are Jeff Bridges, Sam Elliott and Greg Kinnear. His mother died when he was 10; his father followed 10 years later. Long-term partner is Jennifer Westfeldt, the actress and co-writer of Kissing Jessica (2001). They live in Los Angeles and have been together since 1998. Went to high school (John Burroughs High School in St. Louis) with Sarah Clarke. Taught drama at his alma mater, John Burroughs High School in St. Louis, Missouri. One of his students was Ellie Kemper. Very close friends with Paul Rudd. Has two step-siblings. Is an avid St. Louis Blues ice hockey fan. Is an avid St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan and narrated the 2011 Official World Series film. He is a big fan of "Simpsons" (1989). Personal Quotes "Being in an ensemble cast is the best. You're all in the same boat. You're all together" - on being part of "The Division" (2001) cast. I have a lady, she's a great lady. I love her a lot, she loves me. We're on the same page. Whenever that day happens when we're not on the same page we'll move forward with it. We're interested in having our lives be our lives right now and not a third person's vis-à-vis marriage and whatever that means. - on his relationship with long-time girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt. [on his advice to aspiring actors] I guess I would say, "Don't be afraid to fail." It's not the end of the world, and in many ways, it's the first step toward learning something and getting better at it. If you live your entire life never having failed at anything, it's got to be a weirdly false existence in so many ways. So I think that-depending upon the age, obviously-that would be my bit of advice. Just don't be afraid to fail. [on teaching acting] I went back to my old high school after I graduated college. I didn't have any money. Literally, no money. So I had to find a job, and I started waiting tables a little bit, and I had the idea that I would go back and talk to my old high-school acting teacher. I said, "Hey, man, what do you think of this idea? Would it be helpful if I came back, and taught all the classes you don't want to teach, or that you're too busy to teach? And helped you out? I'm cheap." And he said, "That's a great idea. I'd love the help." And so we together pitched it to the headmaster, and he was like, "Sounds great. It's too late to start this year, why don't you start next year?" So I took a year, I waited tables, and then I taught school for a year, and after that I was 25, I think, and I was ready to try to go. I had a little bit of money saved, and my car sort of ran, so I was like, "You know what, I'm gonna try it before I get any older and I lose any momentum I have." And west I came. I went to a high school where you were encouraged to do a lot of different things, so there wasn't this great divide between the jocks and the theater guys, or the smart kids and the stoners, or whatever. It was like everybody was a little bit of everything, and that was encouraged. I was a pretty serious athlete for a long time, and thought maybe that's what I wanted to do with my life, but I was also a diligent student, and really wanted to achieve in that area, too. And theater was kind of a challenge, like, "Oh, maybe I could do that, that looks like fun." So I started doing it a little bit in 11th and 12th grade, and got pretty good feedback, and kept getting cast to do bigger and bigger parts. And I started to think, "Oh, maybe this is something I could do." But I went to college and kind of forgot about it until I was a junior, and I randomly answered an ad in the paper for some production of Midsummer Night's Dream that was coming through. They were casting students as the young lovers, and having an open audition. I remember looking at my roommate and going, "You know what, fuck it, I'm gonna audition for this thing. What's the worst that could happen?" And I did, and I got it. And then the theater department was like, "You should be in the theater department, why are you not? You're good at this." Enough people kept saying, "You know what? You're kind of good at this. Why aren't you doing it for real?" that finally I started listening, and over the next couple of years at school, I ended up getting a theater scholarship, and doing close to 15 plays over two years, and really focusing on it. But at every level, you're constantly reminded that there are other people that do it better than you and have been doing it longer than you. It was a real wakeup call coming to L.A., where it's, "Well, you're not the go-to guy that you were in the University Of Missouri theater department. Now there's 100,000 people ahead of you in line." But for whatever reason, it didn't faze me. I just kept plugging away, and putting one foot in front of the other, and showing up. (On landing his role in "Mad Men" (2007)) It was amazing. I read the script, and it was for AMC, and I thought, "They've never done anything that's remotely like a TV show, so what's that going to be like?" I read the script for "Mad Men" (2007) and I loved it. Then, I realized that a guy who wrote for "Sopranos" (1999), Matt Weiner, created it, so I thought, "Okay, that's pretty cool". But I never thought they'd cast me-I mean, I thought they'd go with one of the five guys who look like me but are movie stars. Obviously, they didn't. I literally had to go through six or seven auditions. They flew me to New York to meet all the people at AMC. My final audition was at that bar on the roof of the Hotel Gansevoort. When we were riding down on the elevator, the woman in charge of whatever the decision-making process was told me, "You got the job". (2010) I certainly go after what I want. But I just have detached amusement about a lot of it. Because it's silly. This job is ridiculous. There's a line from "30 Rock" (2006) that Tracy Morgan says that makes me laugh out loud: "I remember that movie-I got paid one million teacher salaries". It is what it is. (On the success of "Mad Men" (2007)) Sean Penn and Meryl Streep are having a conversation, and you're standing next to them, and they stop and turn to you and say, "Oh God, we love your show". Yeah, that wasn't happening with my work in "What About Brian" (2006). (On landing "Mad Men" (2007)) "If this show had been on any of the major network. I never would have been cast, ever, period, done, never, no way. They would want someone like Rob Lowe who's got a proven track record. I would've gotten all the way to the end . . . and then I wouldn't get cast. (On acting in high school) I never minded standing up and looking like an idiot, which is tremendously helpful in this industry and not so much in others. L.A. represents opportunity. And, as has been proven over and over in the current media landscape, it doesn't take much for them to put you on TV. If that's all you want, you can be on The Bachelor or The Real Housewives or whatever show just wants oversized personalities, ridiculous behavior, and zero dignity. ... When you try to learn how to act, you approach it with respect. But if you just want to be famous . . . that's not that much different than porn. 'I'm a movie star!' Well, no, you're not. You're a porn star, and that's completely different. And you know, hey, mazel tov-porn probably built half the houses out here, but you're selling your dignity in a way that I feel I'm not. And once you sell it, it's gone. You ain't getting it back.  It's nice not to have to worry about how you're going to pay your bills. And it's a problem I've had for far longer than I haven't had it. Not worrying about the bills is still very new for me. [2010, on early big-time auditions that lead nowhere] I had met 'Steven Spielberg' and all these people that had my eyes just rolling back in my head. The opportunities I almost had! And there's this hideous thing they make you do when you go up for a television show: they make you sign a contract before you walk into the final audition. The last thing they want is for you to have everyone fall in love with you, and then you not have a deal in place. So you sign this thing - and I had no money; I was broke. You're staring at the five-figure pay check you'll get... if... If! A crazy amount of money for someone who has none. So I was thinking: I'll pay my loans off and do this and that and maybe get my car fixed... and, by that time, they're calling you in, you're like: "Shit! I have to do the scene! What the fuck are the lines?" I would get hung up on that stuff and be an utter failure in the room. I played Winnie the Pooh in first grade. I was an early adopter of standing in front of people and looking like an idiot. I'm 40, which is ridiculously old in Hollywood. I mean, come on, I'm not in Twilight (2008/I). I could play their grandfather or something. We're at a place where the idea of being 'elite' is somehow considered a negative. Whether it's Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian or whoever, stupidity is certainly celebrated. Being a fucking idiot is a valuable commodity in this culture because you're rewarded significantly. Incuriousness has become cool... It's celebrated. It doesn't make sense to me. [more on reality TV/celebrity culture rewarding stupidity] It's a part of our culture that I certainly don't identify with and I don't really understand the appeal of it other than that car-crash sensibility. It's not something that I partake in or enjoy, but it is what it is and here we are.