Tamblyn at the 1990 Annual Emmy Awards.
|Born||Russell Irving Tamblyn
December 30, 1934
Los Angeles, California, USA
Russell Irving "Russ" Tamblyn (born December 30, 1934) is an American film and television actor and dancer, who is arguably 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
Tamblyn was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of actors Sally Aileen (Triplett) and Eddie Tamblyn (Edward Francis Tamblyn). He is the older brother of Larry Tamblyn, organist for the 1960s band The Standells.
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. He 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. In 2011, he portrayed "Doc" in the action-thriller film Drive.
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 made an appearance with his daughter Amber on another soap opera, General Hospital, as the character he portrayed ten years earlier on Twin Peaks. He also made an appearance 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.
Tamblyn has been married three times and has two 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 since 2013. 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 movie 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[when?] 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.
|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 age 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|
|The Winning Team||Willie Alexander||Credited as Rusty Tamblyn|
|1953||Take the High Ground!||Paul Jamison|
|1954||Seven Brides for Seven Brothers||Gideon Pottipee|
|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|
|1962||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|
|1971||Dracula vs. Frankenstein||Rico|
|The Last Movie||Member of Billy's Gang|
|1975||Win, Place or Steal||Raymond|
|1982||Neil Young: Human Highway||Fred Kelly|
|1985||The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal||Himself||Documentary|
|The Phantom Empire||Bill|
|1991||Wizards of the Demon Sword||Ulric|
|1992||Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me||Dr. Lawrence Jacoby||Scenes deleted|
|1993||Little Devils: The Birth|
|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|
|2010||The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret||Chuck Margaret|
|2012||Django Unchained||Son of a Gunfighter|
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|
- Official website
- Russ Tamblyn at the Internet Movie Database
- NNDB page
- Petition for release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me with deleted scenes, some featuring Tamblyn