by Myra Janco Daniels
How does Mad Men’s Don Draper compare with the real-life Draper Daniels? They have a similar look. Draper Daniels [above left, pictured in 1959] smoked a lot and sometimes drank his lunch, as Don Draper [right, played by the actor Jon Hamm] does on the show. He had a lot of energy, enjoyed life, and came up with brilliant and innovative ideas, traits shared with Don Draper. He also liked women, much the way Don Draper does. But the Draper Daniels I knew became a one-woman man after we married. He also quit drinking, when I told him I didn’t want to work with a lush. Draper Daniels was an open book. He could be disgustingly honest. He was a farm boy from New York State who made it big in the advertising world. But he never forgot where he came from. That was one reason his campaigns were so successful. He spoke to people, one person at a time, through his ads.
Photography: (left) Courtesy of Myra Janco Daniels, (right) © 2008 Frank Ockenfels/AMC