Jon Hamm has been nominated for an Emmy 16 times. Eight of those nominations were for Don Draper, the iconic character he created on Mad Men. (Four others were for producing Mad Men, with another four for guest actor roles on Tina Fey shows.)
And until Sunday, September 20, he had never won a single one of those Emmys. But on his last chance, Hamm took home the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series award for playing Don. Fey presented him with the award, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
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It wasn't just his first Emmy. It was the first Emmy ever for an actor from Mad Men. The series' total now stands at one win out of 37 separate nominations. (Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks both lost their final bids for playing Peggy Olsen and Joan Holloway, respectively.)
It's worth it, though, because Don's one of the best characters in TV history, and Hamm had the unfortunate luck to be up against Bryan Cranston on Breaking Bad, who won four of the awards Hamm lost. (The other three went to Friday Night Lights' Kyle Chandler, Homeland's Damian Lewis, and The Newsroom's Jeff Daniels.)
Hamm, who's had a tumultuous personal year, complete with time spent in rehab and a breakup of his longtime relationship, gave a short but touching speech that talked about the many people who've helped him on the journey to this moment, the families who've taken him into their lives and kept him going.
"To Bud and Susie and Mary Ann and Ted and Ernie and Carolyn and Vick and Linda and Gary and Sue and my sisters and Cora and Jen, thank you all very much. I would not be standing here without you," he said. He then thanked the fans of the show and left, never to be Draper again.
Correction: Mad Men's Emmy acting total is actually one win out of 37 nominations, not 36.