Hamer was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1932. He got involved in acting at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where he appeared in several theatre productions while doing his undergraduate studies. Joe later received a Master's Degree in Theatre from UCLA and did Doctoral Thesis work at Ohio State. He appeared on Broadway in "The Great White Hope" starring James Earl Jones and got his first feature film experience in the Elizabeth Taylor film BUtterfield 8 (1960). Joe later went on to become one of the busiest commercial actors in New York City over the next 30 years. He has appeared in over 300 TV and Radio commercials, as well as several Soap Operas and TV movies. He curently resides in East Hampton, New York and continues to work to this day.