Vincent Kartheiser on Mad Men's Pete Campbell

Homegrown star of AMC hit reflects on his character

Even if Pete Campbell does die, Kartheiser has no plans to search for another career path, although the lifestyle of this one can at times be exhausting.

"I don't know where my next job's coming from," says Kartheiser. "I don't know where my next dollar is coming from. And that adds a level of stress that I wish sometimes I didn't have. But my favorite thing to do is be other people. So I feel blessed, and I try not to take it for granted — but it's hard."

Though Mad Men has been credited with bringing back the style of the early '60s, the actor says the subject of fashion is always far from his mind.

A different kind of retro, at Bryant-Lake Bowl
Tony Nelson; AMC
A different kind of retro, at Bryant-Lake Bowl
The Kartheiser family visiting Mount Rushmore; Vincent playing pirates in Treasure Island
courtesy Jim Kartheiser
The Kartheiser family visiting Mount Rushmore; Vincent playing pirates in Treasure Island

"I mean, fuck, dude, I haven't bought my own shirt for like six years," he says.

Asked about the one he's got on — a button-down with a pink flowered pattern that would make for good hotel wallpaper — he offers a devious grin.

"This is my ex-girlfriend's dad's," he says. "He was a big womanizer, and, uh, I have luck in this shirt. The ladies like this shirt. I think it's still got some of his pheromones in it."

Toward the end of our interview, a makeup specialist named Amber arrives to prepare Kartheiser for his photo shoot. She combs his hair back to expose a spot that's recently been shaved, which he explains was done to make it appear that Pete Campbell was balding.

"Do that," says Kartheiser, as Amber massages product into his hair. He closes his eyes and leans back in mock ecstasy. "Oh god."

Kartheiser reaches for a pair of sunglasses and tries to steal a glimpse of himself in the reflection. "Do I look like Justin Bieber right now?" he asks. "Because I feel kind of like I look like Justin Bieber."

Amber tries to offer a mirror, but Kartheiser dismisses her with a wave. "I don't look at mirrors," he says. "I learned a long time ago, I hate what those things look like when I look at them."

After Amber is done, Kartheiser takes a deep breath. "Oooooooooh I need an enema," he says as he exhales.

"Your hair is simple," says Amber.

"You're simple," Kartheiser playfully shoots back. "Simple minded!"

Just then, he turns to the reporter and confirms that there are no more questions. He leans forward to extend his hand with a friendly smile and says, "Go fuck yourself." 

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