John Slattery, the actor behind "Mad Men's" rapier-witted executive Roger Sterling, celebrates his 50th birthday today, August 13. While the newly transformed Sterling might be found going to far away places on a mind-altering LSD trip, Slattery's probably more likely to have a slice of cake. Here are five things fans need to know about the birthday boy.
1. John Slattery has strong roots in Boston, Massachusetts
Raised just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, in the suburbs of Newton and Wellesley, Slattery comes from a large Irish-Catholic family. In fact, he has four older sisters and one younger brother. As a teen he went off to the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., before continuing on to New York and ultimately Hollywood. But Slattery still has strong ties to his home state. He's reportedly a big fan of all the local sports teams -- the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and the New England Patriots. Plus he once stated that the Beantown-based sitcom "Cheers" was his favorite TV show.
2. John Slattery started his professional career in theater
Before he became a big TV star, Slattery was a struggling actor in New York City. After working to make ends meet as a waiter and limo driver, he landed his first professional acting gig. Slattery starred alongside Nathan Lane in the 1987 production of "The Lisbon Traviata" by Terrence McNally. He would reunite with Lane again for his Broadway debut in 1994, playing a character based on the TV series "M*A*S*H" creator Larry Gelbart in the Neil Simon comedy "Laughter on the 23rd Floor."
3. John Slattery has played a lot of jilted lovers
Although Slattery auditioned for Mr. Big on "Sex and the City," he lost the role to Chris Noth. Instead the silver-haired actor played one of Carrie Bradshaw's most notorious beaus -- a politician with a kinky side. Needless to say he wasn't Carrie's type. Slattery was also jilted by Debra Messing's character after a one night fling on "Will & Grace." He couldn't lure Carol Vessey away from the bowling alley lawyer on "Ed." And he didn't last long as Gabrielle Solis' second husband on "Desperate Housewives."
4. John Slattery has been lucky in love in real life
Despite his on-screen rejections, Slattery's real love life has been much more successful. In 1998 he married Talia Balsam. Although she's still his wife off-screen, she's his TV ex. Balsam plays the first Mrs. Roger Sterling on "Mad Men." As for her non-television relationships, Balsam has a very famous first husband. She was married to George Clooney from December 15, 1989 through September 17, 1993.
5. John Slattery is more than an actor
In 2010 Slattery moved behind the camera to direct his first episode of "Mad Men," but "The Rejected" was just the start. He's since helmed two more installments -- 2010's "Blowing Smoke" and 2012's "Signal 30." He also paved the way for one of his co-stars. Jon Hamm has also since stepped to the other side of the lens for an episode of his own called "The Tea Party."
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