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Russ Tamblyn

Russ Tamblyn
Tamblyn at the 1990 Annual Emmy Awards.
Born Russell Irving Tamblyn
(1934-12-30) December 30, 1934
Los Angeles, California, USA
Occupation Actor
Years active 1948–present
  • Venetia Stevenson (m. 1956; div. 1957)
  • Elizabeth Kempton (m. 1960 – d. ??)
  • Bonnie Murray (m. ?? – present)

Amber Tamblyn

China Tamblyn
Website .com.russtamblynwww

Russell Irving "Russ" Tamblyn (born December 30, 1934) is an American film and television actor and dancer, who is best known for his performance in title role of the 1958 Tom Thumb and the 1961 movie musical West Side Story as Riff, the leader of the Jets gang. He is also known for appearing in such films as Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, The War of the Gargantuas, Peyton Place and The Haunting, as well as for his portrayal of Dr. Lawrence Jacoby in the television drama Twin Peaks.


  • Early life and career in films 1
  • Television roles 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Filmography 4
  • Awards and nominations 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and career in films

Tamblyn was born in The Standells.

Tamblyn as Norman Paige in Peyton Place

Discovered at the age of ten by actor Lloyd Bridges after acting in a play, Tamblyn's first film appearance was a small non-speaking role in 1948's The Boy With Green Hair. He also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show as a child.

He portrayed the young Saul in Cecil B. DeMille's 1949 version of Samson and Delilah. He played the younger version of John Dall's character in the 1950 film noir Gun Crazy. Later the same year, he had a minor role as Elizabeth Taylor's younger brother in Father of the Bride, as well as in the sequel, released the following year, Father's Little Dividend. He also played a young soldier in boot camp in 1953's Take the High Ground!.

His training as a gymnast in high school and abilities as an acrobat prepared him for his breakout role as Gideon, the youngest brother, in 1954's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

He appeared with Glenn Ford and Broderick Crawford in The Fastest Gun Alive (1956), where he performed an extraordinary "shovel" dance at a hoe-down early in the film. Though uncredited, he served as a choreographer for Elvis Presley in 1957's Jailhouse Rock. Tamblyn portrayed Norman Page in the 1957 film of Peyton Place, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He then played Tony Baker in 1958's High School Confidential prior to his being drafted into the US Army. His performances in film musicals have included the title role in 1958's Tom Thumb and Danny, one of the sailors in the 1955 film version of Hit the Deck. His most famous musical role was Riff, the leader of the Jets in West Side Story (1961).

In 1960, he portrayed The Cherokee Kid in Cimarron. He appeared in two 1962 MGM-Cinerama movies, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and How the West Was Won. He was seen the next year as Orm in The Long Ships, as Luke Sanderson in The Haunting, and as Lt. "Smitty" Smith in Follow the Boys. Tamblyn starred in the 1966 Japanese kaiju film War of the Gargantuas. He appeared in the horror film Necromancer in 1988.

Tamblyn played the supporting role in Neil Young's 1982 Human Highway while also credited for screenplay and choreography. Tamblyn is credited as director, choreographer and actor for Neil Young's Greendale concert tour.[2] In 2011, he portrayed "Doc" in the action-thriller film Drive.

Television roles

From 1990–91, Tamblyn starred as Dr. Lawrence Jacoby on the David Lynch-created series Twin Peaks (alongside his "West Side Story" co-star Richard Beymer who played Ben Horne), though his scenes in the 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me were cut.

In 1999, he portrayed Dr. Hayden on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, and in 2000, he appeared with his daughter Amber on another soap opera, General Hospital, as the character he portrayed ten years earlier on Twin Peaks. He also appeared on General Hospital in 1997 dancing with his daughter Amber during the Nurses Ball. In 2004 he appeared with Amber again, playing the "Dog Walker God" manifestation of God encountered by her in three episodes of Joan of Arcadia.

Tamblyn has also appeared in television series such as Tarzan, Fame (the 1980s television spin-off of the film of the same name), Quantum Leap, Nash Bridges and in Babylon 5 (episode "A Distant Star"). Russ Tamblyn also played Chuck Margaret on The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. The producers of Twin Peaks are hoping for him to reprise his role in the upcoming revival, but due to heart problems, his return is not likely.

Personal life

He has been married three times and has two[3] children from his first and third marriages.

He is the father of actress Amber Tamblyn, who played the starring role in the CBS television series Joan of Arcadia and Two and a Half Men from 2013 to the series finale episode. Tamblyn acted opposite his daughter in several episodes of the former as God in the form of a man walking dogs. The two have also worked together in Rebellious, Johnny Mysto: Boy Wizard, and in The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. Russ and Amber also both have cameos in Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained, billed as "Son of a Gunfighter" and "Daughter of a Son of a Gunfighter" respectively, an allusion to Russ's leading role in the 1965 western Son of a Gunfighter.

Currently he is working on his autobiography, titled Dancing On The Edge. According to his official website, he is half way done with the book and just completed the chapter on his experiences making West Side Story.

Tamblyn underwent open heart surgery in October 2014. There were complications following the surgery and during the rehabilitation, although his health had reportedly improved as of February 2015.[4]


Feature films
Year Title Role Notes
1948 The Boy with Green Hair Classmate Uncredited
1949 Reign of Terror Pierre's Oldest Son
The Kid from Cleveland Johnny Barrows
Samson and Delilah Saul
1950 Gun Crazy Bart Tare at 14
Captain Carey, U.S.A. Pietro Credited as Rusty Tamblyn
The Vicious Years Tino
Father of the Bride Tommy Banks
1951 Father's Little Dividend
As Young as You Feel Willie McKinley Credited as Rusty Tamblyn
Cave of Outlaws Young Peter Uncredited
1952 Retreat, Hell! Private
The Winning Team Willie Alexander Credited as Rusty Tamblyn
1953 Take the High Ground! Paul Jamison
1954 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Gideon Pontipee
Deep in My Heart Lazar Berrison, Jr. Uncredited
1955 Many Rivers to Cross Shields
Hit the Deck Danny Xavier Smith
1956 The Last Hunt Jimmy
The Fastest Gun Alive Eric Doolittle
The Young Guns Tully Rice
1957 Don't Go Near the Water Ensign Tyson
Peyton Place Norman Page
1958 High School Confidential! Tony Baker/Mike Wilson
Tom Thumb Tom Thumb
1960 Cimarron The Cherokee Kid
1961 West Side Story Riff
1962 The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm The Woodsman ('The Dancing Princess') / Tom Thumb
How the West Was Won Confederate deserter
1963 Follow the Boys Lt (JG) "Smitty" Smith
The Haunting Luke Sanderson
1964 The Long Ships Orm
1965 Son of a Gunfighter Johnny Ketchum
1966 War of the Gargantuas Dr. Paul Stewart
1969 The Female Bunch Bill
Satan's Sadists Anchor
Scream Free! Link
1971 Dracula vs. Frankenstein Rico
The Last Movie Member of Billy's Gang
1975 Win, Place or Steal Raymond
1976 Black Heat Ziggy
1982 Neil Young: Human Highway Fred Kelly
1985 The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal Himself Documentary
1987 Cyclone
Commando Squad Anchor
1988 Necromancer Charles DeLonge
B.O.R.N. Hugh
1989 Desert Steel
The Phantom Empire Bill
1990 Aftershock Hank Franklin
Blood Screams Frank
1991 Wizards of the Demon Sword Ulric
1992 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me Dr. Lawrence Jacoby Scenes deleted
1993 Little Devils: The Birth
1994 Cabin Boy Chocki
1995 Starstruck Wheeler / Homeless Man
Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold Gas Attendant
1996 Invisible Mom Dr. Woorter
1997 Little Miss Magic Brenden Moran
Johnny Mysto: Boy Wizard Blackmoor
1998 My Magic Dog Vito
2000 Special Envoys
2002 Cinerama Adventure Himself
2010 The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret Chuck Margaret
2011 Drive Doc
2012 Django Unchained Son of a Gunfighter
2014 Hits Russ

Awards and nominations

Awards and nominations
Award Category Year Title of work Result
Academy Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role 1957 Peyton Place Nominated
Golden Globe Award Most Promising Newcomer - Male 1956 Hit the Deck Won (shared with Ray Danton)
Golden Laurel Award Top Male Musical Performance 1959 Tom Thumb Nominated


  1. ^ [2]
  2. ^ Russ Tamblyn's Official Site: Welcome Retrieved September 16, 2007
  3. ^ In an interview with Mark Maron, Amber Tamblyn states that she only has 1 sibling, which is her half sister from her fathers first marriage.
  4. ^

External links

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