Russ Tamblyn


  1. Sal Mineo, Rebel Without a Cause, 1955.  Seen for the gay Plato kid were Richard Beymer and Russ Tamblyn (who swopped roles in West Side Story), Bobby Gray (no kin to Peter Gray, up for the kindly Fremik), Jeff Silver and James Dean’s pals Dennis Hopper and Jeff Simmons.   Plus… Bobby Driscoll, no longer young Jim Hawkins from Disney’s Treasure Island, 1949…  Claude Jarman Jr,  no longer the kid from The Yearling, 1945…  and Sheffield, no longer Tarzan’s adopted son, Boy, in seven films during 1938-1947. (He had to be “adopted” because the ape-man and Jane were not  wed! (Sidney Lumet had launched James Dean, Sal Mineo and Paul Newman (a Jim Stark candidate) in his New York TV shows).
  2. Robert Ivers, GI Blues, 1959.     Welcome home Elvis! And here’s your reward for serving your country in the US Army – all  your  movies will suck from  hereon! Three years before ruling TV’s talk-show circuit, Johnny Carson was seen for his sidekick,  Cookie. As were: Tamblyn, Carleton Carpenter (actor, dancer, songwriter, composer, author and was more used to terrific  MGMusicals than this Paramount dross) and   Frank Gorshin. Norman Taurog was mysteriously chosen to direct (over King Creole’s Michael Curtiz!) and then helmed a further eight Presley horrors, each one more vomitous  than the precedent..  Like The King of Rock ’n’ Roll in Live A Little, Love A Little and… Tickle Me.
  3. Earl Holliman, Giant, 1955.
  4. Richard Beymer, West Side Story, 1961.     He’d seen the Broadway musical,bought the album, memorised Tony’s songs and was determined and ready when, after his military serviice, MGM surprisingly allowed him to test for the UA production. Then, his agent called: Beymer got Tony, but you can be Riff. “Iif you watch the film,”said Tamblyn, “you’ll see I strut a lot because I never had any dance training.” Next, MGM disliked some of his lyrics: (My sister wears a moustache/My brother wears a dress/Goodness gracious, that’s why I’m a mess!).The studio director told him:“You’ve a reputation to keep, so we’ve booked you on another movie.”Tamblyn fought hard andconvinced the man to let him go.Beymer andf Tamblyn met up again in Free Grass (aka Scream Free) a piece of 1969 psychedelic, hippy schlock – and onDavid Lynch’s superior schlock, Twin Peaks, in the ’90s. Beymer always admitted: “They really miscast me. I came from the mid-West, what they really needed was a street-smart guy.”

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  4