cover image Dancing on the Edge: A Journey of Living, Loving, and Tumbling Through Hollywood

Dancing on the Edge: A Journey of Living, Loving, and Tumbling Through Hollywood

Russ Tamblyn, with Sarah Tomlinson. Blackstone, $28.99 (360p) ISBN 979-8-212-27331-2

In this rollicking debut memoir, actor and dancer Tamblyn recounts his storied screen career with the aid of journalist Tomlinson (Good Girl). Born to actor parents in 1934 Los Angeles, Tamblyn resolved at an early age to join them on the silver screen. He began to study dance and acting at age 11; two years later, he landed his first role in a play written by actor Lloyd Bridges. His success in that show led to film offers, and before Tamblyn was 20, he’d signed an MGM contract. His breakout screen role came in 1954’s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, in which he garnered attention for his dancing prowess. From there, Tamblyn went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for his performance in 1957’s Peyton Place. Throughout the narrative, Tamblyn drops big names and amusing anecdotes: he once gave Howard Hughes $10 for gas when the millionaire forgot his wallet, and gave Paul Newman a ride in the trunk of his car. But what sets this account apart is Tamblyn’s sunny disposition (“Whenever I’ve had the urge to do something, instead of worrying about what could go wrong or what people might think, I’ve just done it”) and frankness about his transgressions, including habitual adultery during his second marriage. This is one of those rare Hollywood memoirs whose appeal stretches far beyond its subject’s star power. Agent: David Dunton, Harvey Klinger Literary. (Apr.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review misidentified the film for which Tamblyn received an Academy Award nomination.