John Slattery was born on August 13, 1962, in Boston, Massachusetts. His first professional acting job came in 1987, in the play The Lisbon Traviata. Soon came his first TV role on The Dirty Dozen: The Series. For the next decade he worked steadily on TV, with guest and recurring roles. In 2007, he held a recurring role on Desperate Housewives. Soon after he landed the lead role on Mad Men.
Actor John M. Slattery was born on August 13, 1962, in Boston, Massachusetts. Slattery was raised in a large Irish-Catholic family (four older sisters, one younger brother) in the suburbs of Boston. He majored in theater at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Like many aspiring young actors, Slattery then moved to New York City to try his hand at auditions. To support himself, he worked as a limousine driver and then as a waiter—with considerably less success than he'd later have as an actor. "I was a terrible waiter," he recalled years later with a laugh.
His first professional acting job came in 1987, playing opposite Nathan Lane in the Terrence McNally play The Lisbon Traviata. Soon came his first television role, a six-episode guest spot as Pvt. Dylan Leeds on Dirty Dozen: The Series. For the next decade Slattery worked steadily on television, with guest and recurring roles in shows such as China Beach, Party of Five, Ed, Law and Order and Will & Grace.
In 2000, John Slattery appeared in the hit HBO series Sex and the City in a memorable guest spot as a politician with an unusual sexual fetish. The high-profile gig landed him a series of movie roles. He played Julia Roberts's love interest in the 2003 film Mona Lisa Smile, and a government official in the World War II drama Flags of Our Fathers. In 2007, he held a recurring role on the television series Desperate Housewives—his most visible job up to that point.
It was during his stint on Desperate Housewives that Slattery received a call to audition for the lead role of Don Draper on Mad Men, a new drama set in the 1960s advertising world. When he arrived for the audition, producers confessed that they had already hired another actor, Jon Hamm, for the lead. They wanted Slattery to play the supporting role of Roger Sterling, the womanizing, hard-drinking co-owner of the agency where the show takes place. "I was a bit disappointed when they asked me to play Sterling," Slattery recalled, but he agreed.
The show premiered on July 19, 2007 on the cable channel AMC. It became a smash hit, with the series as a whole—and Slattery's performance in particular—earning critical acclaim. In the first three seasons of Mad Men, Slattery was twice-nominated for an Emmy Award. His performance on Mad Men has also helped him garner an increasing numbers of fans, many of whom admire his looks as much his acting roles. "It's embarrassing," the prematurely-gray Slattery said of the "silver fox" moniker frequently appended to his name. "I don't mind the 'silver' bit, but I hate the 'fox'—no one likes being a fox, whatever color it is."
Slattery lives with his wife, actress Talia Balsam, and son Henry in New York City. When not filming Mad Men in Los Angeles, Slattery continues to work in film, stage and television, including a role in the 2010 film Iron Man 2.
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