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Amber Tamblyn quickly earned widespread critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Dramatic Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Joan during last year's premiere season of JOAN OF ARCADIA. She had previously been best known for playing Emily Quartermaine in the daytime drama "General Hospital." That role, which she originated in 1995, was set to last for only a few months, but it turned into a seven-year stint as she won viewers' hearts, critics' acclaim and two consecutive Hollywood Reporter Young Star Awards as Best Young Actress in a Daytime Series. Tamblyn's most recent film credit is the thriller "The Ring." Her future film projects include a lead role in "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," an adaptation of the Ann Brashares novel about four friends who keep in touch by circulating a magical pair of secondhand jeans. Her additional primetime television credits include guest-starring roles in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "The New Twilight Zone" and "Boston Public," as well as CSI: MIAMI and WITHOUT A TRACE on CBS. She also appeared in the short film "Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet." Her father is veteran actor Russ Tamblyn ("West Side Story," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Tom Thumb" and "Twin Peaks"). She lives in Los Angeles, where she was born and raised. Her birthdate is May 14, 1983. Her father is veteran actor Russ Tamblyn, best known for his roles in "West Side Story," "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers," and "Father Of The Bride." Tamblyn has published two books of poetry, Of the Dawn and Plenty of Ships, and has written and recorded a song inspired by her hit TV series, with an old family friend playing backup. The friend? Some old guy named Neil Young.
Amber's Anti-Arcadia Stalker
Amber Tamblyn's real life is starting to resemble a plotline from Joan of Arcadia.
But instead of being visited by God in the form of strangers, Tamblyn's apparently stuck with a plain old nutjob.
The 21-year-old actress was granted an extended restraining order Thursday against a man accused of stalking and threatening her.
Tamblyn's attorney, Benjamin David Ammerman, requested the extension from a Santa Monica judge, reports Celebrity Justice. The order bars Frederick Cragin Demetz Jr. from coming within 100 yards of the actress.
According to the Joan of Arcadia star, Demetz had been leaving her threatening phone messages since last October.
In one message left at the show's CBS production office, Demetz allegedly said: "No one is more evil than you, Joan of Arcadia."
He also pledged to "torture" Tamblyn for "millions of years" and "drill things into your kneecaps," per Celebrity Justice.
Tamblyn became even more fearful for her safety when Demetz allegedly broke into her trailer on the set of Joan of Arcadia, the syndicated show reports.
Ammerman would not comment on the case Friday.
Although ratings for Joan have taken a hit this year (the show is averaging 8.3 million viewers, down from 10.1 million last season), Tamblyn's career is taking off. She has been nominated for both an Emmy and Golden Globe for Joan and is set to star in Warner Bros.' The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants due out in June. It will be her first lead role in a feature (she did have a minor part in 2002's The Ring).
And if the thespian thing flounders, she has a fall-back plan. In an essay titled "Hollywood Is Hard" on her Website, Tamblyn says she considers acting her second career choice--she really wants to be a writer and her first book, Free Stallion: Poems, is due in October from Simon & Schuster.
Amber Tamblyn is a mighty big talent
In the beginning there was a TV drama about a teen who is visited by God and charged to do good works on behalf of the Almighty. There was also a question: Would viewers visit as well?
Well, with 11 million viewers per week tuning into CBS' Joan of Arcadia, the answer is yes--and former soap star Amber Tamblyn has proven she's a mighty big talent.
The daughter of famous musical actor Russ Tamblyn (West Side Story, Twin Peaks), Amber grew up surrounded by famous folks like Dennis Hopper and Neil Young. She began her own career after a family friend saw her play Pippi Longstocking in an elementary school production. That friend happened to be an agent.
Before nabbing a recent Golden Globe nomination for her sassy, sensitive portrayal of God's right-hand teen, Tamblyn was best known to tube audiences for guest stints on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Without a Trace and CSI: Miami, as well as her seven-year run as Emily on General Hospital and Port Charles.
These days, she's all about the prime-time spotlight, from Joan of Arcadia's win as Best New Drama series at the People's Choice Awards to the dog-sitting scenario that left a teary Tamblyn the butt of one of Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd pranks.
Next up? Several film offers and maintaining Joan's heavenly ratings in a TV landscape that's seen more misses than hits lately. Of course, that may not be so hard given the show's devoted--and occasionally eccentric--fan base.
How eccentric, Amber?
"I had someone come up to me who was, like, six-two, had his septum pierced, had a tattoo on his shaved head, had sleeve tattoos (and) a really deep voice, and he told me he and his mother watch the show. All the time," says Tamblyn.
Amber Tamblyn won the best actress award at the 6th Annual Family Televison Awards
The CBS-TV shows "Joan of Arcadia" and "Everybody Loves Raymond" took top family-friendly TV honors during Wednesday night's presentations at the 6th Annual Family Television Awards.
NBC-TV's coverage of the Olympic Games won for best TV special, ABC-TV's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" won for top reality show, ABC-TV's "Lost" was voted best new series and Bernie Mac of Fox's "The Bernie Mac Show" was best actor.
"Joan of Arcadia" won as best drama and its star Amber Tamblyn shared the top actress award with "Everybody Loves Raymond" actress Doris Roberts. The best comedy show went to "Everybody Loves Raymond."
The hourlong special hosted by WB "Summerland" star, producer and co-creator Lori Loughlin was videotaped at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for broadcast Dec. 9 by the WB Network.
''Joan of Arcadia'' starring Amber Tamblyn is a surprise hit
"Joan of Arcadia" has been a surprise success on CBS on Friday nights, winning a People's Choice Award as the best new TV drama, and minting a new star in Amber Tamblyn, who plays Joan.
The show involves a high school student who gets visits from God, disguised as ordinary people. But Tamblyn, 20, tells the premise of the series has taken some turns in this, its second season. Joan is no longer always sure whether the "person" she is talking to is God, which leads to some interesting and funny exchanges.
In one episode, an angry Joan challenges a meter maid she thinks is God about a ticket the woman had just given to Joan's friend. When the meter maid explains that the friend's car's time was up, Joan retorts that it must be nice knowing the meter maid's time will never be up! The meter maid looks at Joan like she's crazy.
"I think that was still debatable right up to the time when we shot it whether or not she was God," Tamblyn tells. "Even with the director on the set, this is one of those incidents where I, Amber Tamblyn, I don't even know if she was God, or if it was just Joan being crazy and misinterpreting something that she said. I'm confused."
"All throughout the script," Tamblyn adds, "we have all kinds of funny things about God, God-related. Not necessarily in the positive sense. Sometimes, Joan is making fun of him or not liking him in a particular moment. "I think this season, we've become a little more formulaic with our storylines, which I think is good. And I think, at the same time, there is definitely, especially midway through the season, there've been some really heavy episodes.
Like one scheduled to air Friday night involving perspectives of every member of Joan's family on a disabling, and potentially fatal accident suffered by Kevin. "It's a wonderful p-o-v (point of view) show about everyone's different perceptions and what happens in a decision, when you make a decision." Tamblyn says the show is very popular among teens: "I notice a lot of young guys really love the show. Like, you know, seniors in high school or freshmen in college, they love the show. They really like the teenage story line.
"More than anything, people tell me how much they really love the realistic teen portrayals, and how the people actually look normal and girls are actually the normal size on our show and (there are) normal relationships. As normal as a teenager relationship can get."
Amber Tamblyn talks to God
Mary Steenburgen understands skepticism about "Joan of Arcadia." She had the same reaction when her agent suggested playing the mother of a teenage girl who talks to a God that takes the form of random people. But to the surprise of many, including Steenburgen, the show did not turn out to be cringe-inducing. "I can always tell when people have seen the show," Steenburgen said. "They get that the humor is huge, it's very irreverent. That it's edgy in its own way. It's all the things you wouldn't expect from a show about God."
It's a hit, too. "Joan of Arcadia" has been a surprise success on CBS Friday nights, winning a People's Choice Award as the best new TV drama and minting a new star in Amber Tamblyn, who plays Joan. Barbara Hall, the series' creator, had it worse than Steenburgen. Until it aired, all people knew about "Joan of Arcadia" was its one-line description as a "modern-day Joan of
Arc story." "Besides the fact that when you try to pull something off like this you're risking enormous public failure, just because the idea is so hard to pull off, I knew I'd have to live through the months of people only hearing that line," Hall said. "It sounds terrible to me too."
The natural inclination was to draw comparisons to the broader spiritual focus of "Touched By an Angel," which CBS had just canceled. Steenburgen read the script because she saw it was written by Hall, producer of "Judging Amy" and writer for the early 1990s favorite "Northern Exposure."
Critics have similarly seized on the intelligent quirkiness of "Joan of Arcadia." Joan, whose father is an ex-police chief and brother is wheelchair-bound following an accident, meets God in the guise of different characters every week: a woman in the cafeteria lunch line, a high school hunk. God gives Joan a series of assignments, often hard to fathom. She's asked to build a boat, join the chess club, ask a bully to the school dance.
The direct pipeline doesn't give her divine powers. Joan would love to use her newfound ability to lift her brother from his wheelchair, for instance, but God doesn't work that way. "Even though Joan has guidance from God, nothing gets solved in her life because of it," Hall said. "She still has to go through the same dilemmas and struggles that everyone else does." Neither does the series over-rely on its signature device for intriguing plots. It was almost irrelevant to the story in one standout episode, where a teenage boy was afraid to read the letter left behind by his mother after she committed suicide because he worried it was his fault.
While the Rev. Christopher Robinson, a professor of religious studies at DePaul University, said he was occasionally moved to tears by "Touched By an Angel," he finds "Joan of Arcadia" more complex and clever. "Its unpredictability is one of its best selling points," Robinson said. "I hope it doesn't fall into a situation where patterns surface, where in the end everyone lives happily ever after because Joan is a good person." Most Christians stop their religious education in elementary school, so they approach adult problems with a childlike view that religion is all about rules, Robinson said.
"Joan of Arcadia" moves beyond that without being preachy, he said. "It doesn't make God look silly or mundane. It makes God look more complicated, and that's a good thing."
A friend told Steenburgen about how some groups trying to help teenagers resist drug and alcohol abuse have screened episodes of "Joan of Arcadia" because it helps them understand the concept of a higher power that is non-denominational. Despite having a close family, Joan keeps her divine conversations to herself (she did hint about her secret to a dying child in one episode).
What hasn't been revealed to viewers is why God has chosen to communicate through a 16-year-old girl. "I think that question has already been answered," said Tamblyn, nursing a slight cold while waiting for an order of tea at a Hollywood restaurant. "I think the fact that Joan is ... just average, I think that's the whole message, that you don't have to be a special person in order to talk to God."
Tamblyn, the daughter of actor Russ Tamblyn, is dealing with a budding celebrity stature, her face popping up on magazine covers. She described a mild mall mobbing by young girls as she waited to get Indian food. "Two days later, I had someone come up to me who was, like, 6-foot-2 and had his septum pierced and had a tattoo on his shaved head and sleeve tattoos with a really, like deep voice that told me he and his mother watch the show," she said.
Few young actresses would resist the chance to star in a network television drama. This had the added benefit of being good, Tamblyn said. After reading the first script, she said, "I felt I knew the character instantly. I visualized how she would look. I knew that it was a risk, and not enough risks are taken on television."
Amber Tamblyn's new drama '' Joan of Arcadia'' mirrors the real life
Former daytime star Amber Tamblyn moves to prime time Friday night, as the star of the new CBS drama series “Joan Of Arcadia.” She plays Joan Girardi, a teenager, who finds herself constantly visited and talked to by God, who appears to her in human form.
The show stars Tony Award-winning actor Joe Mantegna as her father, Will, and Academy Award-winning actress Mary Steenburgen as her mother, Helen. Rounding out the cast is Joan’s 15-year-old science-geek brother, Luke (Michael Welch), and her older brother, Kevin (Jason Ritter), a former high-school sports star who is in a wheelchair as a result of an automobile accident.
It is the accident that brings the family to a time of spiritual crisis, Tamblyn explains. “At the same time, Joan, who is an average teenage girl, starts having God speak to her and show up in the form of different people, so she never knows who it's going to be.”
In the premiere episode, Joan tries to make sense of her first unsolicited face-to-face encounters with God, who urges her to get a part-time job at a bookstore. Meanwhile, Will Girardi (Mantegna) becomes passionately involved in overseeing a case involving a serial murderer who is on the loose and targeting teenage girls. And at the year-and-a-half mark of Kevin's accident, the lovingly strict Helen begins to pressure Kevin to resume his life -- responsibilities and all.
Tamblyn tells: “The show is beautifully written. It has many, many underlining metaphors and philosophical references. It's beautiful.” It is also blatant in some ways. In one scene, Helen (Steenburgen) encounters a priest on the sidewalk and asks him, “Why does God make people suffer?” And the priest has no answer.
Tamblyn notes, “The show sort of mirrors real life and how we deal with each other as human beings, I think. Everybody in the family, all of the characters, are very well-written and very well-rounded. They are sort of in their own place of spiritual crisis because of what's going on with the family, and Joan looks crazy. They don't know what is going on.”
Is prime-time television the place for discussion of God?
She notes, “I think it's not a coincidence that there are so many shows that have been coming out and people talking about spirituality.” People have compared “Joan of Arcadia” to "Touched by an Angel" Tamblyn continues, “One thing that attracted me to the show was there was no definition for it. When I read it, I said, 'There's no way I can explain the show to somebody.' They're going to have to watch it and get their own meaning out of it.”
Tamblyn is best known for her portrayal of Emily Quartermaine on the daytime drama "General Hospital." The role, which she originated in 1995, was set for only a few months but it turned into a seven-year stint as she won viewers' hearts, critical acclaim and two consecutive Hollywood Reporter Young Star Awards as Best Young Actress in a Daytime Series.
Now that she is in primetime, she says the experience she acquired working for the soap is paying off. She says, “Soap operas are sort of a condensed version of a prime-time show, because you do 37 scenes a day, 60 pages of dialogue, a different show every day year-round. You come to primetime, you do like eight pages max, four scenes a day, so it's a piece of cake. You're really well-oiled and prepared. Seven-year run has prepared me.”