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Daytime Veteran Becomes a Prime Mover

Aug 4, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The legendary sound stages in Culver City, Calif., that launched Russ Tamblyn into the national spotlight in 1957 in “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers” will now play host to another rising star’s unveiling before mainstream audiences.
Amber Tamblyn, Mr. Tamblyn’s daughter, is preparing for her first full day of taping on Sony’s lot in “Joan of Arcadia,” set to debut on CBS this fall. Right next door is the stage where “Brothers” was shot, and Ms. Tamblyn is ready to make her own place in Hollywood lore.
At 20, she already has loyal fans. A seven-year stint on “General Hospital” beginning when she was 11 years old became what Ms. Tamblyn calls “the most incredible training ground to being an actor that there is.”
“Daytime is the most overlooked and underrated aspect of television,” she said. “You don’t really get respect as a soap actor and it’s understandable [because] there are soaps out there that are embarrassing to watch. [But] You learn emotional manipulation. You learn to get a photographic memory. You learn to be on time and know your lines.”
Although her father was a child star in his own right, starring in films such as “Father of the Bride,” Ms. Tamblyn said that she was discouraged from becoming an actor while she was growing up. She said her father was worried she wouldn’t receive the social interaction and educational priorities that “normal” kids receive if she chose to take on the business.
“He was fearful because he knew from experience what the business can do to young kids and he didn’t want that to happen to me. He wanted me to live a normal life. It was actually his mother, my grandmother, who finally talked him into it.”
She opened her professional career in 1995 with a duo of films, “Rebellious” and “Live Nude Girls,” before segueing into television with “General Hospital.” She was also seen in last year’s horror flick “The Ring” before nailing the lead in “Joan of Arcadia.”
“She brought everything we needed for the role,” “Joan” executive producer Barbara Hall said. “Whoever took on the role of Joan had to be able to jump from funny and quirky to heavy and dramatic from scene to scene. Amber brings all of that to the show.”
The new series follows teenage Joan Girardi, daughter of a police chief father played by Joe Mantegna and a somewhat overbearing mother played by Mary Steenburgen. She soon discovers that God is talking to her, and she has to determine whether she has a higher purpose on Earth or the strange conversations are just in her head.
“Prime time is the medium between soaps and features, offering the best of both worlds,” Ms. Tamblyn said. “In television you can be constantly working instead of changing projects every three months. I consider myself fortunate, because this is a show I would watch, and when I saw that Joan was quirky and awkward I knew I had found a home.”
STATS
Name: Amber Tamblyn
Date of Birth: May 14, 1983
Place of Birth: Santa Monica, Calif.
Reps: Endeavor
Big Break: Getting cast in “General Hospital”
Who Knew? She is a poet who has been published in San Francisco publications Cups and Poetry USA.