EMMY’S 2015: Jon Hamm Wins! Early Losses Not To Be Forgotten

I’ve been rooting for Jon Hamm. As a Mad Men enthusiast and psychoanalyst, I’ve written a number of pieces on the effects of Don Draper’s early trauma. Not only that, I’ve long-admired the way Hamm brings Don’s very real struggles to life. Little did I know that his own early history, in some critical ways, mirrors Don’s.  At least as far as losing a mother at a young age goes, and then being orphaned at 20.  Jon, too, was hit with difficult early losses.

Working with actors in my practice, I know how hard it is to enter into and come out of any intense role. Harder if the role stirs up your own difficult experiences. Of course, such resonances are useful tools of empathy in the portrayal of a complicated character. Yet, if any emotional piece of those earlier events are unprocessed or unresolved, there can be a rocky road to manage.

I don’t know how much help Jon Hamm’s had for I’m sure a lot of sadness. We can see how difficult grieving is for his character, Don Draper. Without anyone to recognize the depth of his losses, Don could only turn to alcohol and sex to numb them. If residues of Jon’s own losses were stirred in playing Don Draper (or by life itself), I hope his alcohol rehabilitation leads him to further help for the effects of those early losses.

Bravo on your win, Jon. That Emmy has been yours for a long time. It couldn’t be better deserved.

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