St. Louis Native Jon Hamm Calls Civil Unrest in Ferguson 'Rough to Watch'

"I hope everybody pulls together for the sake of the community," says the Mad Men star

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty. Inset:Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Jon Hamm, a St. Louis native and proud hometown booster, says the images coming out of suburban Ferguson, Missouri, near where he grew up and where relatives still live, have been painful to see.

As a kid in neighboring Normandy, “I used to ride my bike to Ferguson. I know people from Ferguson,” the Mad Men Emmy nominee, 43, told PEOPLE Monday at Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals were hosting Jon Hamm Bobblehead Night.

Two sisters and an aunt still make their homes in north St. Louis County, now defined outside the region by conflict – some of it violent – in the wake of the Aug. 9 police shooting in Ferguson of an unarmed 18-year-old, Michael Brown.

Hamm told reporters that the situation in Ferguson is “rough to watch,” and added: “It’s a bad situation all around. There’s no positive spin to it. When all the facts come out, and hopefully all the light is shone on all sides of it, hopefully justice will be carried out.

“But it’s hard. It’s really hard,” he said. “That’s my neighborhood, and I know there’s a lot more good people in those neighborhoods than there are bad people.”

“St. Louis has had a rough couple of decades now. It’d be nice to turn it around a little bit. People in St. Louis, in my experience, are great people. If anybody can do it, we can, and I hope everybody pulls together for the sake of the community. ‘Cause, you know, that’s all you’ve got at the end of the day.”

The Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 in 10 innings on Monday. And Hamm – who recently starred in Million Dollar Arm as a sports agent – had a hand in steering a portion of proceeds from special game tickets to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Noting that he lost his mother to cancer and his father to diabetes, the actor said of St. Jude: “It’s just an organization unlike any other. I couldn’t be more sincere when I say that they’re some of the greatest people on the planet. They provide free health care for kids who can’t afford it, and they cure diseases, and their research department is second to none.”

Of the bobblehead giveaway itself, he said it has its small burdens.

“I’ve got aunts and uncles and cousins and friends of all stripes saying, ‘I’m gonna need one!’ ” said the lifelong Cardinal fan. “I probably need about 40 of them, if anybody’s listening.”

Does that include requests from celebrity friends?

Paul Rudd,” he said, citing his buddy who grew up across the state and just over the Missouri border in Overland Park, Kansas. “He’s a Kansas City Royals guy, so maybe I’ll get him one and write something terrible on the bottom.”

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