Before “Mad Men,” it’s safe to say that Jon Hamm wasn’t on anyone’s radar. He was best known as the boyfriend of director Jennifer Westfeldt, who only a smattering of people even knew at the time, thanks to her movie Kissing Jessica Stein (which Hamm was in, briefly). He’s been acting, however, since the mid-1990s, after relocating from Missouri, where he was an 8th grade acting teacher (one of his students was Ellie Kemper, from “The Office.”) He didn’t land a single role in his first three years of acting, and at one point, ended up taking a job as a set designer on a porn flick to help ends meet. But eventually, five years into his acting career, he landed a recurring role in “Providence,” which led to more roles which led to more, which led — in 2007 — to Don Draper.
Here’s a brief look back at five of his television roles, which does not include his first (pictured above), as “Gorgeous Guy at Bar” in an episode of “Ally McBeal.” Don’t forget to also check out Uproxx’s weekly “Mad Men” discussion thread.
The Division — Hamm was a recurring character on a Lifetime network show about a team of female police officers, which included Bonnie Bedelia (John McClain’s wife in Die Hard), Nancy McKeon (“Facts of Life”), Amy Jo Johnson (The Pink Power Ranger) and, before she was a star, Taraji P. Henson.
What About Brian? — Hamm has a seven-episode arc on “Brian,” as a single dad courting Amanda Detmer’s character. WARNING: Floppy hair alert.
Gilmore Girls — As a doe-eyed date of Lorelai Gilmore (click on the image to see the clip)
Providence — In the NBC series starring Melina Kanakaredes, Hamm played a firefighter for 18 episodes.
Sarah Silverman Program — In 2007, Hamm played the Cable Guy in an episode of “The Sarah Silverman Program.” He’s been friends with Silverman for years.