For so many fans, Mad Men wasn’t just a TV show. The AMC drama, which ran for seven seasons, proved to be a consistent, gripping, and often beautifully introspective meditation on nostalgia, power, creativity, and identity. It’s the type of series that immediately comes to mind whenever a naysayer questions whether television is capable of producing high-quality, worthwhile entertainment. It’s the type of series that you can re-watch over and over and feel like you’re seeing again for the first time.
Before Mad Men premiered on AMC in 2007, avid TV viewers were skeptical as to whether or not the network could deliver a decent series. Now, nearly ten years after the first episode aired, we know that it was silly to ever doubt its prowess.
The series was successful, in large part, thanks to an incredible staff of writers and directors. However, its equally amazing and talented cast helped fans get lost in the 1960s world of ad men and the women who love (and hate) them. Many of the actors that appeared on Mad Men have gone on to appear in some pretty awesome projects, too. From completely bizarre commercials to Oscar-winning movies, check out Where Are They Now? The Cast Of Mad Men.
Peggy Olson had one of the more fascinating journeys throughout Mad Men’s seven seasons. She started off as an insecure secretary and ended up shattering some serious glass ceilings for female marketers at Sterling Cooper. Elisabeth Moss’ performance in the series was pitch perfect, and she made it a joy – albeit sometimes an uncomfortable joy – to watch Peggy come into her own.
Since her time on Mad Men, Moss has appeared in a few indie films, but she’s mostly distinguished herself as one of TV’s most watchable actresses, starring in the Sundance Channel’s entirely underrated crime drama Top of the Lake. This spring, you can see her as Offred in Hulu’s critically acclaimed adaptation of the classic dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. After playing a whole string of awesomely strong women, we’re pretty sure that Peggy would be super proud of her.
When Mad Men began its run on AMC, Pete Campbell was, more often than not, a character that you’d love to see get knocked down a few pegs. And over the next few years, he definitely did – again, and again, and again. By the time he let Bob know just how not great things were going for him, you almost felt bad for the guy. Almost.
It’s a testament to Vincent Kartheiser’s inherent likability that Pete managed to be at all sympathetic. So it’s kind-of a bummer that he’s been kind-of quiet since Mad Men wrapped up in 2015. He appeared in the thriller A Kind of Murder and showed up in Netflix’s new biopic, The Most Hated Woman in America. He also has a recurring gig on Hulu’s Casual. Without a doubt, the most memorable role Kartheiser has taken on in the last couple of years, though, was as Colonel Sanders in KFC’s fall marketing campaign. Maybe he is an ad man, after all.
Sterling Cooper (Draper Pryce) (and Partners) (and whatever else they were called) was never lacking for eccentric personalities. However, Bert Cooper – founding partner and constant source of expertise – was in so many ways the weirdest, and most wonderful, of them all. He always wore a bowtie. He was obsessed with Japanese art. He hated wearing shoes, but he could sing and soft shoe with the best of them. In a way, it made sense that he passed away, and thus left Mad Men, just as men were first landing on the moon, because he really was out of this world.
Robert Morse was easily the most experienced member of the Mad Men ensemble, having spent decades appearing in films and on television. At 85 years old, he’s still working pretty regularly, too. He portrayed journalist Dominick Dunne on FX’s American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, and has done voice work on series like The Legend of Korra, Teen Titans Go!, and Animals.
Harry Crane knew the future of advertising was on TV long before his compatriots at Sterling Cooper caught on. Despite his solid instincts, though, he never quite had the temperament to really make it in advertising. His struggles were rarely the focal point of the series, but Rich Sommer managed to imbue Harry with a cocky confidence that made him feel like a real, if occasionally incredibly unlikable, person.
Though he was a supporting player on Mad Men, Sommer has had one of the more prolific careers in the couple of years since. He’s appeared in nearly a dozen TV series, including Grey’s Anatomy, Love, Masters of Sex and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. Plus, he’s lent his voice to some pretty awesome animated series, including Regular Show in Space and Adventure Time.
Megan may have been one of the most controversial characters in all seven seasons of Mad Men. Some fans liked her free-spirited, youthful energy. Others felt as though she was rude, entitled, and entirely too immature, and that her storylines bogged down the series’ later seasons. Regardless of whether you hated her, or wanted to “Zou bisou bisou” her, the second Mrs. Draper certainly shook things up in Don’s life.
Jessica Paré weathered the storm surrounding her Mad Men character pretty well over the years. The multi-talented actress unfortunately hasn’t followed up the hit series with too many significant projects. She played a department store supervisor, Miss Fortini, in the Oscar-nominated romantic drama, Brooklyn, and starred in the low budget drama Lovesick, but has otherwise laid pretty low. She is slated to appear in a few future projects, including a TV movie about Navy SEALS starring David Boreanaz.
Many Mad Men characters sacrificed a lot for their craft. Only one sacrificed their eye, though, so you’ve got to give Ken Cosgrove some credit. The eager account executive and aspiring novelist had to spend a great deal of his time wooing the hard-partying auto execs in Detroit, and he never really got the acknowledgement he deserved.
Aaron Staton played Ken Cosgrove with a mixture of self-importance and increasingly anxious energy. Though he was only a supporting player, Staton contributed to many of the series’ most memorable moments, and it’s hard to imagine Mad Men without him. He’s mostly stuck to TV roles since 2015, showing up on Ray Donovan and Bravo’s A Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce.
His most prominent post-Mad Men role has actually been across the pond, though. He co-starred in the British historical drama My Mother and Other Strangers in 2016. For the record, none of his other roles have required him to wear an eye patch – but it was a good look for him.
Stan Rizzo was the kind of character you couldn’t help but like – even when he was being a total douche. As the art director at SCDP, and eventually Sterling Cooper and Partners, he was cocky, bold and fun-loving, and that attitude toward work also extended into his personal life. His tête-à-tête with Peggy was consistently one of the most entertaining parts of Mad Men, and their eventual coupling was one of the more satisfying pieces of the series’ final moments.
Jay R. Ferguson’s innate comic timing made him a perfect fit to play Stan. He’s translated that essential skill into a pretty successful career. He had a recurring role on The Mindy Project, and starred as the patriarch of ABC’s comedy, The Real O’Neals. He recently booked a lead role in the pilot for CBS’s Living Biblically, and even if we never get to see that series, he’s also due to appear in Showtime’s reboot of Twin Peaks. Sadly, he hasn’t sported that epic beard in any of his post-Stan roles.
There were many tragic characters on Mad Men, but perhaps no one had a more disturbingly sad ending than Lane Pryce. A founding partner at SDCP, he worked hard to keep the firm’s financials in order, but wound up biting off more than he could chew. Sure, he made some huge mistakes, but he always genuinely meant well. His suicide was one of the most shocking events in the entire series, and thanks to Jared Harris’ riveting performance in the episodes leading up to it, it was also one of the most emotionally devastating.
Harris had a pretty impressive career before he started his role on Mad Men. So it’s no surprise that he’s worked pretty much non-stop since Lane shuffled off the mortal coil. He had supporting roles in The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Poltergeist, and Allied, and he’s appeared on series like The Terror and The Expanse. Fans are most likely to have noticed him, though, as a young King George the VI in Netflix’s hit series, The Crown.
Michael Ginsberg made a big impression during his somewhat limited time on Mad Men. That’s not just because he cut his nipple off during a mental health crisis, either. The neurotic, highly sarcastic copywriter was ambitious and talented, like many of his colleagues, but he sometimes struggled to fit in with them. His psychological issues ultimately became the main focal point of his journey, and it was thanks to Ben Feldman’s nuanced performance that the story played out in a way that felt both darkly comedic and, well, just plain dark.
Feldman is still probably a familiar face for TV fans, because he’s been a mainstay on multiple series since he left Mad Men. He played Ron LaFlamme on HBO’s Silicon Valley, and these days, he stars as Jonah on the NBC comedy Superstore. As far as we know, he still has both of his nipples in real life.
Don Draper had a lot of love affairs during his years as an ad man. One of the most memorable was Rachel Menken, the steely-eyed department store heiress he wound up winning over, both professionally and romantically. Rachel didn’t spend a lot of time on Mad Men – she cut him loose once she realized that he had some deep-seated issues to work through. She obviously had a lasting impression on him, though, since he dreamt of her shortly before learning that she’d died.
Though Maggie Siff played a pretty small role in the grand scheme of things on Mad Men, her career has been anything but limited. She’s probably best known for her role as Tara Knowles on the FX cult biker drama, Sons of Anarchy. However, her killer role as Wendy Rhoades on Showtime’s new hit series, Billions, is equally as captivating.
So often, kids on family-centered TV shows fall somewhere between barely tolerable and completely obnoxious. Sally Draper, however, was in a league nearly all her own. She started out as a precocious little kid, and wound up being the poster child for despondent teens with dysfunctional parents. All told, Sally was one of the more mature and captivating characters in the entire Mad Men ensemble – and that’s no small feat for a character that was still a teenager when we last saw her.
Kiernan Shipka definitely impressed Mad Men fans with her mature portrayal of Sally. Now 17 years old, she’s booked some intriguing roles that showcase her range as a young actress. She starred in the horror film, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and took on a guest role in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. She’s even dabbled with voice work, playing Spider-Woman Jessica Drew in 2016’s Marvel Avengers Academy video game. Most recently, she proved she’s definitely cornered the market on playing daughters with high-maintenance mothers after her supporting turn as B.D. Hyman in FX’s Feud.
Like so many women of her era, Joan Harris née Holloway accomplished a tremendous amount, especially since the deck was, in so many ways, stacked against her. She weathered workplace politics, sexism, abusive and unhealthy relationships, and still came out on top. She defied expectation in every sense – even better, she used others’ expectations of her to her own advantage.
Mad Men wasn’t Christina Hendricks’ first role, but it was the one that made her famous. She easily became one of the most recognizable actors on the series, and she has parlayed that success into a solid career, though one that hasn’t completely captured her potential as an actress. Over the past couple of years, she’s mixed it up a bit, appearing in comedies, like Bad Santa 2 and Fist Fight, and some heavy dramas, like Dark Places and The Neon Demon. She’s also continued her run on TV, co-starring on both Another Period and Hap and Leonard. We're hoping to see more of her onscreen in the years to come.
Mad Men was Don Draper’s story, in many ways. However, as a series, it simply wouldn’t have worked without Roger Sterling. The hard-drinking, womanizing, opinionated executive was sometimes hard to love, but he brought levity to Don’s world that was sorely needed. As fans, we became just as invested in Roger’s life as we did in Don’s, even when it was hard to root for him.
John Slattery’s portrayal of Roger Sterling was more or less iconic – a truly pitch perfect performance from beginning to end. He isn’t a one-trick pony by any means, though. Slattery has been all over the place, showing up in comedies like Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and Veep, as well as dramas like last year’s Oscar-winner, Spotlight. Later in 2017, he's set to take on the particularly juicy role of Dwight D. Eisenhower in the biopic, Churchill. Plus, there's a good chance that we'll see him continue to reprise his role as Tony Stark's father Howard in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For most of Mad Men, it was pretty easy to hate Betty Francis, formerly Draper. She was cold and often uncaring toward her children, she often came off as childish and petty, and she complained endlessly about a life that seemed pretty privileged by many accounts. There was a lot going on in Betty’s world, though, and not all of it was her own doing. So for many fans, the way her story ended – with the looming threat of lung cancer – seemed tragic, and not at all like justice was served.
January Jones had to walk a thin line in her portrayal of Betty. If she’d played her too harsh, it would have been hard to feel any sympathy for her. Thus far, she’s been pretty selective when it comes to her most recent career choices, having only taken on one major role. but it’s definitely been a good one. She currently co-stars as Melissa on Fox’s irreverent comedy, The Last Man on Earth. Her Mad Men alter ego would definitely be proud of her selectivity, that’s for sure.
Don Draper was an enigma – a man so shrouded in mystery that even he didn’t always know who he was. He was a leader, a follower, and a storyteller; someone who never let his lesser qualities get in the way of what he wanted. Even in Mad Men’s final moments, he left us guessing at his true intentions, and made us wish we could spend just a little more time with him.
It’s hard to imagine a Hollywood without Jon Hamm, the man who brought Don Draper to life. So it’s easy to forget that Mad Men, his breakout role, came later on in his life, though not for lack of trying. Since his days as the dude who could make you cry over a pitch for a Kodak commercial, Hamm has stayed busy. He put in numerous memorable TV appearances in series like in Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, The Last Man on Earth, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but we have a feeling he's just getting started.
This year, we’ll see him in four films, including Aardvark, Nostalgia, and Edgar Wright’s much-anticipated Baby Driver. In other words, Jon Hamm has been working overtime to ensure his acting legacy since he uttered that last, “Omm.”
Do you wish that Mad Men was still going strong? Which of these cast members do you want to see more of in film and television? Let us know in the comments!