In the finale of television show “Mad Men,” created by Matt Weiner ‘83, Evan Arnold ’88 played Leonard, who made actor Jon Hamm’s Don Draper cry during a seminar at a retreat.
The AMC series first aired in July of 2007 and ran for seven seasons. It aired its finale May 17.
“Mad Men” centered on Hamm’s character, a Madison Avenue ad man in the 1960s.
In the finale, Arnold has a pivotal scene, describing a dream about being “on a shelf in the refrigerator.”
Weiner drew inspiration from a Harvard School art history class his junior year, taught by former teachers Carl Wilson and Karl Kleinz, as well as from history teacher David Waterhouse.
During his senior year, Weiner read “The Glory and the Dream,” by William Manchester in Waterhouse’s pop culture class.
The book became “like a bible” for “Mad Men,” focusing on how history gets processed in comparison to what actually happened, he said.
“This show is a product of my education and everything about it,” Weiner said.
In an interview with Esther Zuckerman ’08 in Time Magazine, Arnold described his experience.
“In terms of the context of the episode and the series as a whole, it was very intense, emotional, incredible,” Arnold said.
He was invited to a table reading, Arnold said.
“That’s when I had the opportunity to hear the script,” Arnold said. “I came into a room, a big conference table, writers and producers all sitting around, the cast. Matthew Weiner gives a beautiful, sincere, emotional speech.”
Zuckerman said that she did not know that she and Arnold attended the same high school when she interviewed him.