John Burroughs High School & Mizzou Alum Jon Hamm takes on lead role in upcoming Bleeker Street film, ‘Nostalgia’
St. Louis has created many an artist in its last 150+ years, but few as renowned for roles in both television and film as the Mad Man himself, Jon Hamm.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Hamm is an alumnus of not only John Burroughs High School but also the University of Missouri. This leading man of both the small and big screens has managed to leave his mark on the entertainment industry, but not before he returned to John Burroughs to teach drama, waiting a few tables at Mizzou and apparently getting denied as many roles as he was offered along the way.
Hamm finally secured the role of a lifetime in the AMC drama “Mad Men” as advertising executive Don Draper. He managed to chisel out a big screen repertoire as well with films like Disney’s “Million Dollar Arm,” “Keeping Up with the Joneses” and one of last year’s best films, “Baby Driver.”
Hamm is the first one to admit his life as an actor hasn’t come easy, even though he did get the bug very early when he was hand-selected in first grade to play Winnie the Pooh. He still had that same acting force within him when, 11 years later, he headed off to Mizzou on an acting scholarship, securing his bachelor’s in 1993.
Losing his mother at the age of 10, and then losing his father almost 10 years later, Hamm took his time before finally deciding to head west. And, like most actors who head for Hollywood, he left the Midwest with dreams of stardom in his head, but securing a career in television or film took more than three years. Once he secured a few smaller roles for the small screen, he eventually landed a small role for the big screen as well, playing Young Pilot #2 in Clint Eastwood’s “Space Cowboys” in 2000.
Hamm’s career and passion for his craft have grown along with his star qualities and leading man persona, which have taken him to becoming a two-time Golden Globe winner for his role as Don Draper. His love for his hometown teams, the St. Louis Blues and the St. Louis Cardinals, has also paid off; Jon was tapped to narrate the film about his 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
As Hamm’s star continues to rise, it looks like he will continue his success predominantly on the big screen in 2018, with pivotal roles in “Off Season,” “Tag,” “Beirut” and “Nostalgia.”
“Nostalgia” stars Hamm, Nick Offerman, Catherine Keener, Bruce Dern, Patton Oswalt and Ellen Burstyn. Directed by Mark Bellington, and written by Alex Ross Perry and Mark Bellington, “Nostalgia” follows the lives of people connected through loss and examining the human process of finding love and solace in the artifacts and memories we share with each other. “Nostalgia” hits theaters on February 16, so make sure to catch it at a theater near you.
Kathleen “Kathy” Kaiser is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and runs MatineeChat.com.