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Monday, 5 May 2014

Jon Hamm: TV's Humble & Human Star

As the man behind Don Draper makes the transition to major film acting, we take a look at just what makes Jon Hamm so unique.


Just a few years ago, when the American AMC series Mad Men was a new and exciting drama, Jon Hamm was one of the biggest names in acting. In playing Don Draper—the impossibly suave but deeply flawed advertising director at the centre of the show—Hamm became a household name.

As television fans know, however, this sort of fame and recognition can be fleeting, because there are always new and exciting shows standing by to capture the spotlight. Indeed, while Mad Men has remained incredibly popular, the attention on and fascination with Hamm did seem to lull for a couple of years. This his why it's so interesting, and so impressive, that in the past year he's exploded back into everyday conversation!

We wrote just last summer about the continuation of Hamm's Sky1 series A Young Doctor's Notebook (in which he plays alongside Daniel Radcliffe), and the big news this spring is that Hamm will be making his first major foray into film. While Hamm has been in a number of films over the years, his turn as a sports agent in search of Major League Baseball's first Indian pitcher in Million Dollar Arm marks his first starring role in a major motion picture set for wide release.

So, long story short, for you television fans who have been a fan of Hamm's work over the past decade, one thing is starting to look quite clear: he isn't going anywhere, and it may well be that his stardom is just beginning. And his career trajectory from this point on should be fascinating to watch, given the actor's apparent desire and tendency to act and appear like a "normal guy." If you're unfamiliar with Hamm outside of the role of Don Draper, consider the following glimpses into his personality that the public has enjoyed in the past few years.

To begin with, there's the fun little story that broke earlier this year when the Internet uncovered fairly ridiculous footage of Hamm competing in, and losing on, a dating show back in 1995. The clip is pretty embarrassing for a man who's now become a TV star and is primarily known as one of the manliest (depending on your definition of the word) and most irresistible men on TV! Yet when  interviewed about the clip on The Late Late Show Tuesday by Craig Ferguson, Hamm discussed it all with a delightful, fresh degree of humour, readily mocking himself and demonstrating a sort of easy confidence and humility in the process.

Hamm's easygoing, humble attitude in interviews isn't the only thing that makes him seem just a bit different from most major acting stars, however. He's also known to be an avid fan of sports and competition. His participation in public events in this regard certainly makes him a relatable figure for a worldwide celebrity. Hamm is known to be a major fan of St. Louis sports, even having done a little bit of advertisement work
(of which Don Draper himself would be proud!) for the St. Louis Blues National Hockey League team. He is also known to be an avid poker player in his spare time, having played in charity events with the likes of Ben Affleck and Don Cheadle—also known poker enthusiasts. He has even participated in a Partypoker sponsored WPT celebrity invitational or two over the years. Now, we may not all have access to high-stakes poker charity events or pro-sports advertisements, but the truth is Hamm's personal interests and hobbies seem pretty much in line with an average man's!
And then of course there's Hamm's continual refusal to get sucked into dramatic circumstances and conversations that so many celebrities fall prey to. The most infamous example in this regard is his steadfast insistence that people stop writing that the fact that he is evidently well-endowed causes a stir on the set of Mad Men. However, that story isn't the only example of Hamm's apparent distaste for gossip and drama. Just earlier this month, Hamm adopted the same carefree demeanor when addressing Mad Men's struggling ratings. As reported in the Huffington Post he explained that the show isn't meant for everyone and isn't necessarily designed to maintain enormous ratings. Can we really imagine another TV star admitting to and accepting this sort of reality?

The point in the end is that if you haven't yet become a fan of this seemingly flawless television star, you may want to take a look back at some of his work. Hamm appears to be on his way to becoming a major film star, and it's not often we get an actor or actress of this magnitude who seems so genuinely human. We ought to all enjoy him as much as possible.

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