By Raisa Bruner
October 13, 2016

Mad Men leading man Jon Hamm has been a symbol of dark, brooding masculinity ever since he stepped into the role of Don Draper back in 2007. But he wasn’t always seen as a tortured-soul-type actor. In fact, Hamm actually got his start by banking on his notorious good looks as “Gorgeous Guy at Bar” in an episode of the legal drama Ally McBeal. (According to Hamm’s IMDB page, it was his first ever role.)

His early acting gigs also included “low-rent dramas” and a role as a set dresser on a porn film, Mr. Porter magazine reports, which he found to be “one of the most depressing experiences” in his life. His first movie? The Mel Gibson drama We Were Soldiers in 2002.

“I had a small part in it, but I made a ton of money on it. I thought, OK, I’m working now. I don’t have to do a sh-tty day job anymore,” he said; he had also been waiting tables at the time.

Thankfully, Mad Men came up a few years later and positively turned his fortunes around, transforming him from just that nameless “Gorgeous Guy at Bar” to a modern icon—although in some ways he’s returning to his roots with his latest spy comedy, Keeping Up with the Jones, in which he plays a way-too-handsome agent.

[MrPorter]

Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com.

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