She’s gorgeous and talented — with one Emmy win and two Tony nods under her belt — but How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’s Tammy Blanchard isn’t exactly a famous face. Yet. The Best Featured Actress in a Musical contender recently called EW to chat about feeling born in the wrong decade (she earned her Emmy for playing Judy Garland in Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows and scored her first Tony nomination for Gypsy), living in Jersey, and being constantly asked about Daniel Radcliffe.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You once said that you’d be a bigger star if it were the 1940s or 1950s.
TAMMY BLANCHARD: I’m really good at playing women from that time. Judy Garland and Gypsy Rose Lee are just examples. I just feel like I would have latched onto some big studio. I would have had the five films in a row to prove myself. It just seems like once you got in the door back in the day, it was somehow a little easier once you proved that you were talented. And I have the facial structure. Once they put the old Hollywood hair on me, I could be stepping right out of the ’50s or ’60s.
Did you do the full 60s makeup and ‘do for your How to Succeed audition?
I did. I had put my mothers old perm curlers in my hair. And I put a bunch of curls on top of my head. I put the red lipstick on and I had a nice tight dress so that I could feel like that va-voom kind of woman.
Do you ever get recognized?
Not at all, and it’s good because I have my daughter, Ava, with me most of the time. People don’t recognize me coming out of the stage door, so I get to go right home to her. It’s a good thing, actually, for my personal life.
Did you name her after Ava Gardner?
Yes, I did. I read her bio Love is Nothing and I fell in love with her. And then that was the only name for me. They said that when she walked in a room the whole place turned because her smile was just so vibrant. She was the most beautiful woman in the room and I just believe Ava’s going be that, too.
You still live in your hometown of Bayonne, N.J., correct?
After Gypsy I got my own home, but I still live within blocks and within a couple of miles of my immediate family. I always had this sense that I didn’t want to lose all the love I was receiving. I didn’t think that to become a big Hollywood star and move to California would be as fulfilling as getting to hug and kiss my mother every day.
It must be interesting to work in such a glitzy and glamorous profession and then go home to a small city in New Jersey.
It’s great because everyone’s bringing a sense of where he or she came from and the journey that they’ve had. Mine has been so settled that it’s exciting to be around these people who have experienced so many crazy things.
You seem like and old soul to me.
Yeah, I was always really quiet and observant and shy and inward, so I’ve been able to see life and the people around me. I think that’s why I seem like an old soul.
Do you find it a little exhausting to talk about yourself so much?
Yeah. I just said, ‘You know what, I’m firing my publicist.’ No, I love them and what they do. But [doing interviews] really is exhausting and not only that, it takes away time with my daughter. I know when the day comes that if I’m pushed into the forefront, I’ll have my issues and the things that I’ll be able to speak about, and for those things I’ll go out. But as far as constantly talking about yourself, it does get tiring and it does get a little bit like ‘What am I doing this for?’
Do you find it a little exhausting talking about Daniel Radcliffe?
What?! I don’t think you could get that. That’s the glory — he’s so charming and wonderful. I really love him. This is the thing: When I work with people now, since I have a 3-year-old, they’re going to be much younger than I am. I really have a great deal of love for him and Rose [Hemingway, How to Succeed’s other leading lady], knowing the journey that’s before them. So if a question is asked, of course I’m going to spread the love. That’s all it’s about for me is spreading that love.