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In 2007, actor Jon Hamm took on his most famous character to date, playing philandering ad executive Don Draper in the American Movie Classics show Mad Men.
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He also made friends with up-and-coming actor Paul Rudd while living in St. Louis. Rudd described Hamm as "one of those unfair guys who are good looking, really funny and good at everything," according to GQ magazine.
In 1995, Hamm decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Packing up everything he owned, he drove to his aunt and uncle's house in West Los Angeles. He stayed with them until he got his own apartment, which he shared with a series of roommates. For years, Hamm struggled to find work as an actor. He made his television and film debuts in 2000, with bit parts in the comedy series The Hughleys and the adventure flick Space Cowboys. Landing a recurring role, Hamm appeared on the television drama Providence from 2000 to 2001.
Also around this time, Hamm got a part on the Los Angeles stage in Lipschtick written by Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen. The story follows two women pursuing a relationship. It was turned into the 2002 independent film Kissing Jessica Stein, in which Hamm also appeared. Off-screen he developed a relationship with Westfeldt, and the two eventually moved in together. That same year, Hamm had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it part in Mel Gibson's military drama We Were Soldiers.
On the police drama The Division, Hamm played Inspector Nate Russo opposite Bonnie Bedelia and Nancy McKeon. He stayed on the show for two years. After its cancellation, Hamm made a series of guest appearances on such shows as Charmed, CSI: Miami, and Numb3rs. He also landed recurring roles on the military drama The Unit and the dramatic comedy What About Brian.
In 2007, Hamm took on his most famous character to date, playing philandering ad executive Don Draper in the American Movie Classics show, Mad Men. He auditioned seven times to get the role. Set in the 1960s, Mad Men explores the lives of the employees of a top New York City ad agency. The cast also features January Jones as his wife Betty and John Slattery as his boss Roger Sterling. Elizabeth Moss plays Peggy, a secretary-turned-copywriter on the show. The Don-Peggy relationship has been challenging for Hamm, especially when he has to be hard on Peggy. He said that Moss "looks about nine years old. It's like kicking a puppy," according to Daily Variety. But for Hamm, the character has been an opportunity to stretch as an actor. "Don, in a lot of ways, can be kind of mean, and that's not my go-to thing. . . . He's kind of mean to a purpose, but it was a little tough," he explained to Daily Variety.
While promoting the show's fifth season in 2012, Hamm got caught up in a media frenzy for his comments about reality TV stars in an interview. "Whether it's Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian or whoever, stupidity is certainly celebrated," he told Elle UK. "Being ... [an] idiot is a valuable commodity in this culture because you're rewarded significantly." Kardashian responded by calling Hamm "careless" for saying she was "stupid." But the actor was surprised by all the media attention over his remarks.
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