“West Side Story” Star Russ Tamblyn to Publish Memoir “Dancing on the Edge” — See the Cover! (Exclusive)

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

'Dancing on the Edge' — edited in part by the actor's daughter, Amber Tamblyn — will be released April 9, 2024

<p>Rose Eichenbaum</p> Russ Tamblyn

Rose Eichenbaum

Russ Tamblyn

Russ Tamblyn is telling his story in his own words.

The Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor, 88, is set to release a memoir titled Dancing on the Edge — and PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the cover.

In the book, from Blackstone Publishing, Tamblyn "deftly guides readers through his star-studded life and his search for a deeper, more connected existence," reads a synopsis, from "attending school with Elizabeth Taylor, earning an Academy Award nomination for Peyton Place, dropping out of Hollywood at the height of his career to become a fine artist in Topanga Canyon and forging a lifelong friendship with Neil Young."

"He shares the painful breakup of a twenty-year marriage and the joy of finding true love and inspiration as a husband, father, and mentor in his own right," the synopsis adds.

The former actor, dancer and gymnast opens up in an exclusive interview with PEOPLE about Dancing on the Edge, the cover of which depicts a West Side Story-era Tamblyn jumping in front of a blazing fire.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories.

<p>Blackstone Publishing</p> Cover of Russ Tamblyn's memoir <em>Dancing on the Edge</em> (2024)

Blackstone Publishing

Cover of Russ Tamblyn's memoir Dancing on the Edge (2024)

Related: 'West Side Story' Star Russ Tamblyn Recalls 1960 SAG Strike: 'Don't Sell Out Like Ronald Reagan' (Exclusive)

Asked what the cover art symbolizes for him, Tamblyn tells PEOPLE that it "wasn't planned" on his side, but that it's a "great photo" that "told the story of my life, which was dancing on the edge."

"I'd always been on the edge in one way or another, playing with fire," he adds. "My life has been kind of on the edge in the sense that I've taken a lot of chances and risks."

One such risk was Tamblyn's decision to temporarily step away from acting at the height of his career and move to Topanga Canyon to focus on fine arts.

"The difference between the performing arts and fine art, at least for me, is that in the performing arts, I've always thought that you do everything you can to make the audience's head spin," says the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers actor. "In fine art, you do everything you can to make your own head spin."

"And there's a big difference, because sometimes you do something for yourself — something that you think is great — and if people don't like it, that's too bad," Tamblyn adds, laughing.

<p>United Artists/Kobal/Shutterstock; Everett</p> Russ Tamblyn in <em>West Side Story</em> (1961) and <em>Seven Brides for Seven Brothers</em> (1954)

United Artists/Kobal/Shutterstock; Everett

Russ Tamblyn in West Side Story (1961) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

Tamblyn says he started writing the book over 25 years ago, around the time he received the Humanities Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, at the University of Arizona.

According to the actor, Dr. David Soren, an anthropology professor at the school, requested to write his biography — a draft of which was read and reviewed by an English-teacher neighbor of Tamblyn's who told him she thought it was "a great story" but had "one thing missing."

"And we looked at each other and we said, 'What?' And she said, 'You,' " he recalls.

Tamblyn says he used Soren's biography draft — which his wife, Bonnie Tamblyn, praises as "very comprehensive" — as a jumping-off point, but that they edited a lot of it.

"Over the years, it just kept going and going," says Bonnie of the process. "And our daughter, Amber [Tamblyn], is an author, and she edited a lot for us. And she brought a more modern perspective to it."

<p>Mark Sagliocco/Getty</p> Russ and Amber Tamblyn in New York City on May 21, 2017

Mark Sagliocco/Getty

Russ and Amber Tamblyn in New York City on May 21, 2017

Related: 11 Celeb Memoirs You'll Want to Clear Space on Your Bookshelf For

Tamblyn, who is retired from acting but has been vocal about his support for the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, tells PEOPLE that his book in the end is "really an autobiography."

That includes stories about his career, family life (including daughter China Tamblyn, who is about 10 years older than Amber, 40, and whom he didn't meet until her teen years), his time in Topanga and much more.

"It's really just my life that I wrote about," he says. "When I took over, I started writing from the very beginning, when I was like 10 years old and started working. I started from that period."

"Also, it was a way to keep tabs on my life," Tamblyn adds. "I was trying to remember where I went from here and here, and here and here. And I did all of that."

Dancing on the Edge is out April 9, 2024, wherever books are sold.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.