Random Celebrity Photos! Vol. Eight: Russ Tamblyn
Today's Random Celebrity Photos are of veteran character actor, Russ Tamblyn. Mr. Tamblyn is an extremely gifted actor and has been in the acting game most of his life. I'd always heard that he was a circus acrobat as a young boy and found his way into TV and acting roles from there (He reportedly was discovered by Lloyd Bridges). He was on The Ed Sullivan Show at age six and will likely be best known for his role as Riff in the 1961 Academy Award winner, "West Side Story." I will always know him as the quirky and mysterious Dr. Jacoby from the David Lynch program, "Twin Peaks."
I found myself helping out a friend with a local cable show. I was basically running a camera while he and a few others interviewed various celebrities at a collector's show. I was the one who noticed that Russ Tamblyn was going to be there and even though we were not there to speak with him, I WAS!
Before the show started I took the time to speak with him and tell him all about our family's silly enjoyment of his work in "Twin Peaks" and other performances. My dad was always a fan of the journeyman actor and Russ Tamblyn was one of those names that would cause dad to stop switching channels and watch whatever was on.
Mr. Tamblyn was courteous and friendly and he was very willing to chat about the business with anyone coming to see him and pay for a photo. I'm sure he thought my Twin Peaks Game was bordering on the stalker side of things, but he suffered this fool gladly.
My younger brother is an even bigger fan of "Twin Peaks" than I am and I also picked up a photo for him. I have a little running gag with my brother. Over the years I've obtained quite a collection of lower echelon celebrity photos and autographs and presented them to him. Everyone from sports & political figures to Hollywood actors and models. He then puts them up on his wall somewhere and people marvel at the level of infamy they find when they visit.
I've also made it perfectly clear to Matt that in order to play this game properly (like he's really playing...He's getting this stuff and he's gonna LIKE IT!) he will NEVER get an autograph of someone REALLY, REALLY famous from me. If they are legends or currently among the biggest stars anywhere, he ain't gonna get nothing but my story about how I met so-and-so. If they are farther down the line on the celebrity list, in the waning years of their career, or just a tiny bit famous, he's getting an autographed photo. As examples: Jerry Seinfeld = Too Famous, The guy who played The Soup Nazi = Just Famous Enough. Oddly enough I met that actor as well, but didn't get my brother a photo. Oh well.
Now Russ Tamblyn, while not EXTREMELY famous, is highly respected in our family so I would never view him as someone worthy of Matt's wall of infamy. However, I couldn't meet him and NOT get a photo or something for my brother. That's just too cruel. He'd be crushed. Nothing would hurt more...Except the awful joke I played on him.
I put many of our own celebrity photos up on the wall and it looks way cool. It certainly starts the conversations when people are around. Of course my Russ Tamblyn photo is prominently displayed. When Matt came by for a visit last summer he saw the photo and was FLOORED to hear that I'd met the guy. He wanted to know all the details of the conversation we had, what he was like, everything. After some discussion, I mentioned to him that I didn't get him an autograph because, "Russ Tamblyn is too famous for your wall." We laughed about it and Matt, trying not to appear hurt, agreed that indeed he was too famous. I knew that Matt was VERY disappointed if not very angry with me, but he was a trooper and didn't say a thing.
Jump ahead to Christmas 2005. Matt is in town again and we're just finishing exchanging presents. Matt actually presented April & me with a Spamalot poster from New York, signed by Alan Tudyk, an actor who we know from a Martello favorite series, "Firefly". Can you believe that even after I slighted him the previous summer he still thought to get his old brother a meaningful gift like that? Had I not actually gotten Matt a Tamblyn photo I'd have felt like a real dick!
There's one package left for Matt to open. He's already expecting it to be a gag gift since we insisted he open it last. When he sees the signed & personalized Russ Tamblyn photo he flips out with happiness. We couldn't stop laughing as he went on about what a total asshole he thought I was for not getting him a photo of Tamblyn. Several months of resentment turned into sheer joy with the completion of my little joke on Matt.
My meeting with Tamblyn was fun. The real memories came long after the ink was dry on the photos.