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With an acting career that spans work for Cecil B. DeMille and Joseph Losey to Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch, Russ Tamblyn’s creativity and longevity is proof that there’s life after child stardom. In Tamblyn’s case, there’s also been a bounty of juicy film and TV roles long after his legendary legs no longer kicked up movie musicals such as “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and “West Side Story.” His decades in film and TV include all genres, from Robert Wise’s suspense classic “The Haunting” to George Pal’s colorful kidfare, such as “Tom Thumb” and “Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” and Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” series. It’s a career he explores in his upcoming memoir, “Dancing on the Edge.”
It was in 1948, eight years before the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. touted his arrival as “Most Promising Newcomer,” that Tamblyn first appeared in the pages of Variety for his role in a Los Angeles stage production of “The Stone Jungle,” directed, it should be noted, by one Norman Lloyd, who is on course to celebrate his 105th birthday this November.
You hit the boards early.
I was about 9 or 10 when I started taking tap-dancing lessons from the Bob Cole Studio in Inglewood. I learned as much as I could from him.
Did - Showbiz - Family
Did you come from a showbiz family?
My father, Eddie Tamblyn, was a juvenile dancer-comedian from New York. My mother was a chorus girl, and that’s where they met. Then the Depression came along, and he couldn’t get work. We were broke a lot.
Stone - Jungle - Was - Experience
You were very young when you got cast in “The Stone Jungle.” Was that a good experience?
The show started with Lloyd Bridges in the lead and then it was recast with Shepperd Strudwick in place of Bridges. It got new producers and Norman Lloyd was directing it....
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