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Amber Tamblyn
Amber Tamblyn - DSC 0082 cropped.jpg
Tamblyn in 2014
Amber Rose Tamblyn

(1983-05-14) May 14, 1983 (age 41)
  • Actress
  • writer
Years active 1995–present
(m. 2012)
Children 1
Relatives Eddie Tamblyn (grandfather)

Amber Rose Tamblyn (born May 14, 1983) is an American actress and author. She first came to national attention in her role on the soap opera General Hospital as Emily Quartermaine at the age of 11. She followed with a starring role on the prime-time series Joan of Arcadia, portraying the title character, Joan Girardi, for which she received Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Her feature film work includes roles such as Tibby Rollins from the first two The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Megan McBride in 127 Hours (2010), as well as the critically acclaimed film, Stephanie Daley opposite Tilda Swinton which debuted at The Sundance Film Festival and for which Tamblyn won Best Actress at The Locarno International Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. In 2016, she made her directorial debut with the film Paint It Black starring Alia Shawkat and based on Janet Fitch's 2006 novel of the same name. In 2021 she starred opposite Diane Lane in FX's Y: The Last Man.

Tamblyn is a published author and cultural critic at large. She has published seven books across genres, and writes for The New York Times and other publications on issues of gender inequality and women's rage.

Early life

Tamblyn was born in Santa Monica, California. Her father, Russ Tamblyn, is an actor, dancer, and singer who starred in the 1961 film West Side Story, the 1954 film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and the television series Twin Peaks, and her mother, Bonnie Murray, is a singer, teacher, and artist. Her paternal grandfather, Eddie Tamblyn, was a vaudeville performer. Her uncle is Larry Tamblyn, who is the keyboardist in the 1960s rock band The Standells. She attended the Santa Monica Alternative School House, which, in her words, was "very unorthodox, no letter grades". At the age of ten, she played Pippi Longstocking in a school play; her father's agent, Sharon Debord, was attending as a family friend and ended up convincing her father to allow Tamblyn to go on auditions.



Amber Tamblyn
Tamblyn posing in 2004

Tamblyn's first TV role was Emily Bowen (later known as Emily Quartermaine) on the soap opera General Hospital, a role that she played for six years (from 1995 to 2001). She also starred in "Evergreen", the pilot episode of the second The Twilight Zone revival in 2002. Tamblyn became better known playing Joan Girardi, a teenage girl who receives frequent visits from God, on the CBS drama series Joan of Arcadia. Tamblyn's father made several appearances as God in the form of a dog walker on the show, which ran from 2003 to 2005.

Early guest-starring roles include: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (playing Janice Penshaw, the best friend of Dawn Summers), Boston Public, CSI: Miami, and Punk'd, where Ashton Kutcher and his crew members tricked her into losing someone else's dog. In 2007, she starred in the CBS pilot for Babylon Fields, an apocalyptic comedic drama about the undead trying to resume their former lives. The CBS network excluded the show from its fall programming lineup, since it would have competed with the network's other undead-themed drama, Moonlight.

In spring 2009, Tamblyn starred in The Unusuals, as NYPD homicide detective Casey Shraeger. The show was canceled after its first season. In the same year, she had a recurring role alongside her eventual husband David Cross in the IFC sitcom The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.

From November 2010 until April 2011, she starred as medical student Martha M. Masters in the seventh season of the Fox medical drama series House. She returned for the series finale in 2012.

In August 2013, Tamblyn was cast as Charlie Harper's long-lost (and previously unknown) lesbian daughter, Jenny, on the sitcom Two and a Half Men, opposite Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer. Her first appearance was on the season 11 opener, September 26, 2013.

She has appeared on numerous episodes of Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer, including the "Milk Milk Lemonade" sketch which aired in 2015. She has also guest starred on IFC's Portlandia and Comedy Bang! Bang!, as well as numerous shows on Adult Swim, including The Heart, She Holler opposite Patton Oswalt and Metalocalypse.

In 2021, Tamblyn starred opposite Diane Lane in the critically acclaimed FX television series "Y The Last man" based on the beloved graphic novel.


Tamblyn launched her film career playing bit parts in her father's movies: Rebellious and Johnny Mysto: Boy Wizard. Her first major film role was in 2005's The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as Tibby Rollins, co-starring Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, and Blake Lively. She reprised the role in the 2008 sequel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.

Her horror film career began with the opening scene of 2002's The Ring. Tamblyn also appeared in the Japan-set The Grudge 2. The film, which also stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, was released on October 13, 2006, and debuted in the #1 spot at the North American box office. In August 2010, she won the Bronze Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for her performance in the title role of Stephanie Daley. The film, which also won an award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, features Tamblyn as a 16-year-old who kills her baby moments after giving birth in the bathroom of a ski resort. She was also nominated for Best Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards. The film also stars Tilda Swinton and Timothy Hutton.

In January 2008, Tamblyn appeared in the Hallmark film The Russell Girl, about a woman suffering from disease and mental anguish. Also in 2008, She also starred in Blackout. She appeared in the 2009 film Spring Breakdown, also featuring Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, and Parker Posey. Tamblyn appeared alongside Orlando Bloom, Colin Firth, and Patricia Clarkson in the 2010 film Main Street, a drama set in North Carolina. That year, she also had a role in the drama 127 Hours, with James Franco.

In 2012, Tamblyn starred alongside Wes Bentley and Vincent Piazza in the indie feature 3 Nights in the Desert directed by Gabriel Cowan, written by playwright Adam Chanzit and produced by John Suits. In 2015, she starred opposite Bob Odenkirk in the Netflix original film, Girlfriend's Day. In the same year, Tamblyn also made a cameo appearance with her father Russ in the Spaghetti Western Django Unchained.

In 2016, she made her directorial debut with the film Paint It Black starring Alia Shawkat and based on Janet Fitch's 2006 novel of the same name. Tamblyn optioned the rights to the book in 2012 with the idea of producing the movie and starring as the lead character with Courtney Hunt directing. By 2014 Tamblyn had taken on writing and directing duties herself and had cast Alia Shawkat in the lead role. Filming was completed in December 2014. Rotten Tomatoes has given it a 88% rating based on reviews from 25 critics.


Tamblyn attended a grade school for the theatrical arts from the age of 5 to 14. She was discovered as an actress at the age of 9 when she starred in Pippi Longstocking. In 2014, she originated the role of Daisy Domergue for the live reading at the Ace Theater in Los Angeles of Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. She was hand picked by Tarantino, a long-time friend, along with fellow cast members Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and others. Tamblyn starred in Neil LaBute's Reasons to Be Pretty at the Geffen Playhouse in 2014, which received critical acclaim.

Tamblyn serves on the board of directors for Soho Rep Theater in New York.


In 2005, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing published her debut book of poems, written between the ages of 11 and 21, entitled Free Stallion. The School Library Journal's review states that, "Free Stallion is a compilation of poetry that amounts to a portrait of the artist as a teenager... Many of the selections are appropriately self-absorbed but move beyond journalistic catharsis to real insight and stunning language for one so young."

In 2009, Manic D. Press published her second collection of poetry, Ditto.

In 2015, HarperCollins published her third collection, a hybrid of poetry and art called "Dark Sparkler" which explored the lives and death of child star actresses. The book was a large critical success and bestseller, which features accompanying original art from Marilyn Manson, David Lynch, Marcel Dazma, Adrian Tomine, and many others. For the book's publication launch in 2015, Tamblyn and the band Yo La Tengo created an hour long poetry and music show incorporating poems from Tamblyn's book. They performed the show in New York at Housing Works and in Los Angeles at The Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Tamblyn's first novel, Any Man, was released June 2018. Her second book, a memoir and feminist manifesto titled Era of Ignition, was released in March 2019. The book is a personal exploration of feminism during divisive times.

In 2019, Penguin Random House published a collection of her cultural criticism and memoir essays, "Era of Ignition; Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution."

Tamblyn has self-published two chapbooks of poetry, Of the Dawn and Plenty of Ships, and has participated in poetry readings at various venues, particularly in California. The Loneliest, a poem book inspired by Thelonious Monk and his music, was published in 2005 and contains haiku poetry written by Tamblyn and coupled with collages by George Herms.

Tamblyn appeared in a poetry concert film recorded on August 4, 2002, in Los Angeles, The Drums Inside Your Chest. A new collection of poetry, Bang Ditto, was published in September 2009 by San Francisco's Manic D Press. Beginning in October 2009, she began blogging for the Poetry Foundation's blog, Harriet. Her poem "Bridgette Anderson" was one of the poems featured in Saul Williams' book Chorus, published by MTV Books in September 2011.

In 2007, she co-founded Write Now Poetry Society, dedicated to creating unique and quality poetry programming. The non-profit has a long history with The Getty Museum, curating poetry events in conjunction with art openings, such as 2011's Dark Blushing, featuring new poems commissioned by poets Patricia Smith and NEA fellow Jeffrey McDaniel, based on works of art by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Blake. Since 2011, Tamblyn has reviewed books of poetry by women for iconic feminist magazine, BUST Magazine.

Personal life

Tamblyn and actor-comedian David Cross became engaged in August 2011, and married on October 6, 2012. On February 21, 2017, Tamblyn announced that she and Cross had recently had a daughter.

She is sometimes said to be the goddaughter of musician Neil Young and actors Dean Stockwell and Dennis Hopper, although in a 2009 interview with Parade, Tamblyn explained that "godfather" was "just a loose term" for Stockwell, Hopper and Young, three famous friends of her father's who were always around the house when she was growing up, and who were big influences on her life.

Tamblyn supported and campaigned for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 United States presidential election. On social media, Tamblyn urged voters to check voter ID requirements citing VoteRiders as a source of assistance across the United States.

She is one of the founders of the non-profit organization Time's Up. She is also a feminist.

She was the writing mentee of the late San Francisco Poet Laureate, Jack Hirschman.

Relationship with parents

In June 2021, Tamblyn wrote an essay in The New York Times expressing solidarity with Britney Spears' effort to end the conservatorship controlling her life. Tamblyn wrote that she became financially successful when she turned 21 and starred in Joan of Arcadia after which her father became her co-manager, and her mother her business manager. She wrote that having her parents on the payroll damaged their relationship, and that her money "paid for our vacations, dinners out, and sometimes even the bills. When it finally came time to disentangle our personal and professional relationships, it was deeply painful for all three of us" but noted she, unlike Spears, "had a healthy and loving relationship with my parents, for the most part" and her parents were "were supportive and ethical in every way." When the "circle of those I supported opened up to include extended family members and friends. I was the one they came to for a small loan or in an emergency, the one who always picked up the check", "using money to make people happy, or fix problems, or appease my guilt", she recounted that she felt like "everybody's ATM: a bank that was, nonetheless, unconditionally loved."

MMVA2007 Amber Tamblyn 3A2V0156
Tamblyn at the MuchMusic Video Awards red carpet, June 17, 2007



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Rebellious Deb
1997 Johnny Mysto: Boy Wizard Sprout
2002 Ring, TheThe Ring Katie Embry
2002 Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet Kate Segment: "Twelve Miles to Trona"
2005 Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, TheThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Tibby Rollins
2006 Stephanie Daley Stephanie Daley
2006 Grudge 2, TheThe Grudge 2 Aubrey Davis
2007 Spiral Amber
2007 Normal Adolescent Behavior Wendy Bergman
2008 One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur Herself Documentary
2008 Blackout Claudia
2008 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 Tibby Rollins
2009 Spring Breakdown Ashley
2009 Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Ella Crystal
2010 127 Hours Megan McBride
2010 Main Street Mary Saunders
2012 Django Unchained Daughter of a son of a gunfighter
2014 3 Nights in the Desert Anna
2014 X/Y Stacey
2014 Growing Up and Other Lies Tabatha
2016 Paint It Black Director and co-writer
2017 Girlfriend's Day Jill
2018 Nostalgia Bethany Ashemore
2023 You Hurt My Feelings Carolyn


Year Title Role Notes
1995–2001 General Hospital Emily Quartermaine Role held: January 20, 1995 – July 11, 2001
2001 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Janice Penshaw Episode: "All the Way"
2002 Boston Public Melissa Campbell Episode: "Chapter Thirty-Two"
2002 Twilight Zone, TheThe Twilight Zone Jenna Winslow Episode: "Evergreen"
2002 CSI: Miami Senior Cadet Valerie Barreiro Episode: "Camp Fear"
2003 Without a Trace Clare Metcalfe Episode: "Clare de Lune"
2003–2005 Joan of Arcadia Joan Girardi Lead role (45 episodes)
2007 Babylon Fields Janine Wunch Pilot
2008 The Russell Girl Sarah Russell Movie
2009 Unusuals, TheThe Unusuals Detective Casey Shraeger 10 episodes
2010–2012, 2016 Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, TheThe Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret Stephanie Daley 6 episodes
2010–2012 House Martha M. Masters Seasons 7–8
2012 Portlandia Bookstore intern Episode: "Cat Nap"
2012 Metalocalypse Trindle (voice) Episode: "Fanklok"
2013 The Heart, She Holler Hurlette Headhe Episode: "The Dearranged Marriage"
2013–2016 Inside Amy Schumer Various roles 5 episodes
2013–2015 Two and a Half Men Jenny Seasons 11–12
2014 Community Thought Jacker co-star Episode: "Basic Sandwich"; uncredited
2014 Comedy Bang! Bang! Herself Episode: "Amber Tamblyn Wears a Leather Jacket & Black Booties"
2016 Lip Sync Battle Herself Episode: "America Ferrera vs. Amber Tamblyn"
2019 Helpsters Paleontologist Paloma Episode: "Wayne of Wonder/Paleontologist Paloma"
2021 Y: The Last Man Kimberly Cunningham Campbell Main role (10 episodes)

Music videos

Year Title Artist(s) Ref.
2020 "Eat It (We're All In This Together)" David Cross featuring "Weird Al" Yankovic


Year Album Artist Track Role
2012 Payback Danny! "Evil" Vocals
2013 Event 2 Deltron 3030 "Lawnchair Quarterback Part 1"
"Lawnchair Quarterback Part 2"
Spoken word

Awards and nominations

Tamblyn's portrayal of Joan Girardi earned her both Golden Globe Award and Primetime Emmy Award nominations in 2004. She was also nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actress in a Television Series in 2004 and 2005. Her role on House ended with her having multiple nominations for her final performance as Martha Masters.

Association Year Category Nominated Work Results Ref
Gold Derby Awards 2004 Drama Lead Actress Joan of Arcadia Won
Golden Globes 2004 Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama Joan of Arcadia Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards 2007 Best Supporting Female Stephanie Daley Nominated
Locarno International Film Festival 2006 Best Actress Stephanie Daley Won
Los Angeles Film Festival 2016 Best Film Paint It Black Nominated
Online Film & Television Association 2003 Best Actress in a Drama Series Joan of Arcadia Nominated
2004 Best Actress in a Drama Series Joan of Arcadia Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards 2004 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series ("Pilot") Joan of Arcadia Nominated
Satellite Awards 2004 Best Actress in a Drama Series Joan of Arcadia Nominated
2005 Best Actress in a Drama Series Joan of Arcadia Nominated
Soap Opera Digest Awards 2000 Favorite Teen Star General Hospital Nominated
2001 Outstanding Younger Lead Actress General Hospital Nominated
Teen Choice Awards 2004 Choice Breakout TV Star – Female Joan of Arcadia Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Drama/Action-Adventure Joan of Arcadia Nominated
2005 Choice "It" Girl N/A Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: Drama Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Nominated
2007 Choice Movie Actress: Horror/Thriller The Grudge 2 Nominated
Young Artist Awards 2004 Best Young Adult Performer in a Teenage Role Joan of Arcadia Nominated
YoungStar Awards 1999 Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Daytime TV Program General Hospital Nominated
2000 Best Young Actress/Performance in a Daytime TV Series General Hospital Won

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Amber Tamblyn para niños

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