Tamblyn became well known for playing Joan Girardi, a teenage girl who receives frequent visits from God on the CBS drama series Joan of Arcadia. That role earned her both a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination in 2004. Tamblyn was also nominated for a Saturn award for Best Actress In a Television Series in both 2004 and 2005. She won in 2004. She was also nominated for awards at The Teen Choice Awards, The Golden Satellite Awards and The Young Artist Award for 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.
Tamblyn's first major film role was in 2005's The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, alongside Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, and Blake Lively. She also starred in the 2008 sequel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.
In August 2006, Tamblyn 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.
Tamblyn's also appeared in the Japan-set The Grudge 2, a sequel to The Grudge. 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. Tamblyn, who learned about Japanese culture while filming the role, agreed to star in the film because she had wanted to play the lead in a horror film.
Tamblyn will next appear in Spring Breakdown, also featuring Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch, and Blackout, a thriller by Italian writer Gianluca Morozzi, in which her character will be trapped in an elevator for nearly 24 hours. Tamblyn was supposed to return to CBS in the pilot Babylon Fields, an apocalyptic comedic drama about the undead trying to resume their former lives. However, the network excluded the show from its Fall 2007 programming lineup, since it would compete with the network's other undead-themed drama, Moonlight.
In January 2008, Amber appeared in the Hallmark movie, 'The Russell Girl' about a woman suffering from disease and mental anguish.
In 2005, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing published a book of poems that she wrote over the span of seven years 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 October 2006, Tamblyn did several poetry readings in California, including a few with poet Derrick Brown.
Amber appears in an upcoming poetry concert film recorded on August 4, 2007 in Los Angeles, "The Drums Inside Your Chest."
In February 2005, Tamblyn was threatened by a stalker. He pledged to "torture her for a million years" and "drill things into her kneecaps," among other acts of violence. Frightened, Tamblyn phoned the police. A restraining order was issued forbidding the man from coming within 100 yards of her.
Tamblyn is an agnostic. She is the goddaughter of actors Dean Stockwell and Dennis Hopper and musician Neil Young. Her uncle is Larry Tamblyn, who was keyboardist in the 60s rock band The Standells. Stockwell and her father, Russ Tamblyn, appeared together in the film The Boy with Green Hair and in the Quantum Leap episode 'Thou Shalt Not...'
She is currently dating comedian David Cross.
|2009||Beyond a Reasonable Doubt||TBA||post-production|
|Spring Breakdown||Ashley||awaiting release|
|Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2||Tibby Rollins|
|The Russell Girl||Sarah Russell||Hallmark movie|
|Normal Adolescent Behavior||Wendy|
|2006||The Grudge 2||Aubrey Davis|
|Stephanie Daley||Stephanie Daley|
|2005||The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants||Tibby Rollins|
|2002||The Ring||Katie Embry|
|Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet||Kate||segment "Twelve Miles To Trona" , directed by Wim Wenders|
|2007||Babylon Fields||Janine Wunch||Never aired|
|2003||"Without A Trace"||Clare Metcalfe||Clare de Lune|
|2003-2005||Joan of Arcadia||Joan Girardi|
|1995-2001||General Hospital||Emily Bowen Quartermaine #1|
|2001||"Buffy the Vampire Slayer"||Janice Penshaw||Guest Star|