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Don Draper

Fictional Character

Born: 2007
Birthplace: Television
Best known as:

The hunky lead character of the TV show Mad Men

Don Draper is the mysterious, brusque, womanizing advertising genius at the heart of the TV show Mad Men. A super-stylish look at the culture of mass-market advertising in the early 1960s, Mad Men premiered on the cable channel AMC in 2007 and was an immediate hit. As the series begins, Don Draper is the creative director at the Sterling Cooper advertising agency in New York City. As played by Jon Hamm, Draper is charismatic and creative, a heavy smoker and drinker, a wearer of sharp business suits, a steely-eyed boss, and a champion adulterer who sleeps around aggressively despite being married (at first) to the beautiful Betty Draper (played by January Jones). He's also hiding a secret: he was born as Dick Whitman, was later orphaned, and then remade himself as Don Draper after he secretly switched identities with a fellow soldier who was killed next to him during the Korean War. The show follows Don Draper's creative triumphs and personal dramas as he juggles his job, his affairs, his wife and kids, his divorce and remarriage, and his secret identity.

Extra credit:

The term 'Mad Men' is a play on Madison Avenue, the Manhattan address for many advertising agencies in the 1960s and 1970s... Don Draper's name is, in part, a nod to Draper Daniels, a Chicago advertising man of the 1960s and 1970s... In season three of Mad Men, Draper and other members of Sterling Cooper created a new firm, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce... Don and Betty Draper have three kids in the show: Sally, Bobby, and Eugene (or "Gene"), the latter child being named for Betty's late father. Don and Betty were divorced in season three, and as season five began he had married his former secretary, Megan Calvet (played by Jessica Paré).

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More on Don Draper from Infoplease:

  • Don Draper - Biography of Don Draper, The hunky lead character of the TV show Mad Men
  • Jon Hamm - Biography of Jon Hamm, The handsome actor who plays Don Draper on TV's Mad Men
  • January Jones - Biography of January Jones, Long-suffering wife Betty Draper on TV's Mad Men
  • John Slattery - Biography of John Slattery, The silver-haired, hot-headed ad executive on TV's Mad Men
  • Selected Biographies: D - Selected biographies of well-known people and fictional characters

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