Tuesday 11 August 2015

Draper Daniels Inspires Role of Don Draper on Mad Men

"He was a tall, distinguished looking man in his early 50's, with Copenhagen blue eyes and a riveting presence." (wife of Draper Daniels)

Real life ad exec Draper Daniels is the inspiration for Don Draper on the TV show Mad Men.  When Myra Daniels met her future husband, Draper Daniels, he was working for Compton Advertising in Chicago.  He had been responsible for such iconic ads as the Marlboro Man.  He was energetic, innovative and smoked like a chimney, despite being raised as a Quaker in upstate New York.  

Draper was also a womanizer; that is, until he met Myra.  At the time Myra was the executive of an ad agency and she and Draper met to discuss a possible merger.  They were introduced by Draper's co-worker, Vivian.  Draper bet Vivian two rolls of nickels that within two years, Myra and he would be married.  

That night, Myra and Draper talked for five hours, then went out for hamburgers at the Wrigley Building.  Even though Myra was engaged to someone else, they soon started dating.  Myra insisted on at least a year's courtship.  They went on to secure many important accounts from Colgate-Palmolive, Swift, Maytag and Consolidated Foods.   

Sure enough, two years after they met, they were married.  When Draper passed away in 1983, Myra cleaned out his old highboy chest and found two rolls of nickels.  It was then that Vivian told her the story about the bet.   

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