Roger Sterling

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Roger Sterling
Mad Men character
File:Roger Sterling.jpg
Roger Sterling, as portrayed by John Slattery.
First appearance "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" (1.01)
Last appearance "Person to Person" (7.14)
Created by Matthew Weiner
Portrayed by John Slattery
Occupation Founding Partner Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce
Family Roger Sterling, Sr. (deceased father)
Nellie Sterling (deceased mother)
Spouse(s) Jane Sterling (ex-wife)
Mona Sterling (ex-wife)
Marie Calvet (wife)
Children Margaret Hargrove (daughter; with Mona)
Kevin Harris (son; with Joan)
Relatives Brooks Hargrove (son-in-law)
Ellory Hargrove (grandson)
Jessica (maternal aunt)
Romances Ida Blankenship (deceased ex-lover)
Annabelle Mathis (ex-lover)
Joan Harris (ex-lover)
Marie Calvet (lover)

Roger H. Sterling, Jr. played by John Slattery, is a fictional character on the AMC TV series Mad Men. He formerly worked for Sterling Cooper, an advertising agency his father co-founded in 1923, before he became a founding partner at the new firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in late 1963.[1]

Slattery has received four consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations and two Critics' Choice Television Awards nominations for his performance. He has also won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series twice along with the cast of Mad Men.[2]

Fictional history

Roger Sterling is a US Navy veteran of World War II, having served in the Pacific theater in The Battle of Okinawa.

The "Sterling" in the firm's name refers to Roger's father rather than Roger, explaining why his name appears before that of Bertram Cooper. A picture in Cooper's office shows Roger as a child alongside Cooper as a young adult. In the same scene, Cooper refers to the picture and calls Roger "Peanut," indicating that Roger has known Cooper for most of his life. In Season 2, Bertram Cooper mentions that "the late Mrs. Cooper" introduced Sterling to his wife, Mona (played by Slattery's real-life spouse, Talia Balsam), whom Sterling is in the process of divorcing in favor of Don's former secretary, the 20-year-old Jane Siegel. Bertram Cooper's sister, Alice Cooper, babysat Sterling when he was a child.

Sterling is a notorious womanizer and a heavy drinker (living like he was "on shore leave") until two heart attacks in the same year force him to slow down, at least for a while. His health scare does not affect his drinking or smoking habits, however. He retains considerable affection from both Sterling Cooper employees (with whom he has far more contact than Bert Cooper) and his family. By 1962, Sterling has returned to work and is seen to indulge in his old habits. Numerous episodes in the third season imply that he is genuinely happy with Jane: for example, he turns down an old flame trying to rekindle their relationship. Mona later remarries, which angers Roger at his mother's memorial service when she brings her new husband Bruce, to the event. Roger and Mona have a daughter, Margaret, who marries Brooks Hargrove on the day after the President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. However, Margaret is unhappy several years later and abandons her family to live on a commune farm, despite Roger's best attempts to get her back to the city. Roger and Mona are shown to be spending time with their grandson while watching the Apollo moon landing.

The series consistently explores the romantic tension between Roger and his former mistress, Joan Holloway. The emotion for each other reaches its peak after they are mugged one evening. Overcome with emotion and excitement, Roger and Joan have intercourse on the sidewalk, and this encounter leaves Joan pregnant. Though initially she and Roger acknowledge that they can't have the child, in the season finale Joan is seen talking to her husband, Greg, telling him she is pregnant with his child, when really, it is Roger's. Meanwhile, Roger and Jane's marriage is falling apart. They are constantly snapping at one another, and the only thing Roger ever says to her is how good she looks. After taking LSD with Jane, they both finally come to terms with the fact that their marriage is over. After his LSD trip, Roger Sterling starts to take his job and life more seriously. His relationship with both of his ex-wives seems to be going fairly well, especially with Mona, who is helping him to build business relationships, even after their divorce. After Greg and Joan split, Roger attempts to help financially support his and Joan's son Kevin, but Joan, fearful of the stigma Kevin would suffer, if it were to come out that he was the product of an illicit affair, refuses. At the close of the series, however, Roger requests to Joan permission to leave half his estate to Kevin to make sure he is taken care of after Roger's death.

Roger meets the mother of Megan Draper, Marie Calvet, at an awards dinner in Season 5 and the two have a brief affair. When Marie returns late in Season 7 to help Megan move out of the Draper apartment, she calls Roger and asks him to pay the bill for the move-out as the two resume their relationship. Presumably marrying shortly thereafter, Roger and Marie are seen together in a cafe in Paris at the end of the series.


  1. "John Slattery as Roger Sterling". Retrieved 2007-11-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "John Slattery-Awards". Retrieved 30 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links