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Before They Were Mad Men: Christina Hendricks

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Screen shot 2012-03-08 at 3.15.02 PM.pngWith Mad Men's fifth season premiering on Sunday, March 25th, we're kicking off a feature today that looks back at the cast before they entered the doors of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

First up: Christina Hendricks.

Before Hendricks slipped into shift dresses and pencil skirts to play sex bomb secretary Joan Holloway, she was a TV regular, with parts on MTV's Undressed, ER and FireflyThough it's clear she kept busy in Hollywood, like many of her Mad Men co-stars, the actress mostly flew under the radar before Matthew Weiner called.  (It goes without saying how high-profile the starlet is now -- even her phone's been hacked!)




Sorority (MTV Unaired Pilot), 1999

In this pilot that never made it on the air, we get a Mad Men twofer as January Jones also had a small role. Both MM ladies play sorority sisters at a California school but while Jones' character is your stereotypical blonde, bitchy sorority girl, Hendricks is clearly the Kappa lackey. (Jones appears at 1:22 and Hendricks at 5:47.)




MTV's Undressed, 1999

On MTV's late 90s/early 00s "late night soap opera" that focused on all things sex -- the surprisingly still-there-from-1999-website bio reads "Undressed examined every type of sexual relationship imaginable, including those involving different races, sexual orientations and fetishes" -- Hendricks plays a girl who arrives in California for some college visits and gets it on with a guy named Ricky she met at a Greyhound bus station.



ER , 2002

Many die-hard ER fans may remember Hendricks' character and harrowing story arc. She  plays the neighbor of Nurse Abby Lockhart (a.k.a. Maura Tierney) who gets battered by her husband. And, eerily enough, that husband was played by Matthew Settle (a.k.a Gossip Girl's Rufus Humphrey).




Firefly, 2002-2003

In this sci-fi show about about a group of humans traveling around the galaxy on a spacecraft 500 years in the future, Hendricks plays a woman claiming to be the wife of lead character, Captain Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds (played by Nathan Fillion).




Kevin Hill, 2004-2005

Before this short-lived legal drama starring Taye Diggs got cancelled, Hendricks played an ambitious lawyer frequently underestimated by her peers. (Maybe this role foreshadowed Joan?)




Jake in Progress, 2006

This John Stamos vehicle introduces Hendricks as one of two women applying for a dental hygienist job and, for once, the actress is not seen as "The Hot One."  That is, not at first.  All it took was for the gal to let down her red hair and Stamos' co-star, Ian Gomez, couldn't keep his dental pliers straight.

Stay tuned for more Before They Were Mad Men roundups on Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Moss, John Slattery, January Jones, Vincent Karstreiter and Chauncey.


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