singer and actress. She was best known for her smoky, sensual voice. London was at her singing career's peak in the 1950s. Her acting career lasted more than 35 years. It concluded with the female lead role of nurse Dixie McCall on the television series Emergency! (1972–1979), co-starring her best friend Robert Fuller and her real-life husband Bobby Troup, and produced by her ex-husband Jack Webb.
Early lifeBorn Gayle Peck in Santa Rosa, California, she was the daughter of Jack and Josephine Peck, who were a vaudeville song-and-dance team. When she was 14, the family moved to Los Angeles. Shortly after that, she began appearing in movies. She graduated from the Hollywood Professional School in 1945.
MarriagesIn July 1947 she married actor Jack Webb (of Dragnet fame). Her widely regarded beauty and poise (she was a pinup girl prized by GIs during World War II) contrasted strongly with his pedestrian appearance and streetwise acting technique (much parodied by impersonators). This unlikely pairing arose from their mutual love for jazz. They had two daughters: Stacy and Lisa Webb. London and Webb divorced in November 1954. Daughter Stacy Webb was killed in a traffic accident in 1996.
In 1954, having become somewhat reclusive after her divorce from Webb, she met jazz composer and musician Bobby Troup at a club on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. They married on December 31, 1959, and remained married until his death in February 1999. They had one daughter, Kelly Troup, who died in March 2002, and twin sons, Jody and Reese Troup.
Later lifeLondon suffered a stroke in 1995 and was in poor health until her death on October 18, 2000, in Encino, California, at age 74. Survived by three of her five children, London was interred next to Troup in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery, Los Angeles. Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.
SingingLondon began singing in public in her teens before appearing in a film. She was discovered by talent agent Sue Carol (wife of actor Alan Ladd) while London was working as an elevator operator. Her early film career did not include any singing roles.
She recorded 32 albums in a career that began in 1955 with a live performance at the 881 Club in Los Angeles. Billboard named her the most popular female vocalist for 1955, 1956, and 1957. She was the subject of a 1957 Life cover article in which she was quoted as saying, "It's only a thimbleful of a voice, and I have to use it close to the microphone. But it is a kind of oversmoked voice, and it automatically sounds intimate."
Julie London's debut recordings were for the Bethlehem Records label. While shopping for a record deal, she recorded 4 tracks that would later be included on the compilation albums Bethlehem's Girlfriends in 1955. Bobby Troup backed London on the dates, and London recorded the standards "Don't Worry About Me", "Motherless Child", "A Foggy Day", and "You're Blasé".
London's most famous single, "Cry Me a River", was written by her high-school classmate, Arthur Hamilton, and produced by Troup. The recording became a million-seller after its release in December 1955 and also sold on re-issue in April 1983 from the attention brought by a Mari Wilson cover. London performed the song in the film The Girl Can't Help It (1956), and her recording gained later attention in the films Passion of Mind (2000) and V for Vendetta (2006).
Other popular singles include "Hot Toddy," "Daddy" and "Desafinado." Recordings such as "Go Slow" epitomized her career style: her voice is slow, smoky, and sensual.
The song "Yummy Yummy Yummy" was featured on the HBO television series Six Feet Under and appears on its soundtrack album. Her last recording was "My Funny Valentine" for the soundtrack of the Burt Reynolds film Sharky's Machine (1981).
FilmPrimarily remembered as a singer, London also made more than 20 films. One of her strongest performances came in Man of the West (1958), starring Gary Cooper and directed by Anthony Mann, in which her character, the film's only woman, is abused and humiliated by an outlaw gang.
TelevisionShe performed on many television variety series and also in dramatic roles, including guest appearances on Rawhide (1960) and The Big Valley (1968). Her ex-husband Webb was executive producer for the series Emergency!, and in 1972 he hired both his ex-wife and her husband Troup for key roles. London received second-billing as nurse Dixie McCall, while Troup received third-billing as emergency-room physician Dr. Joe Early. She and her co-stars Robert Fuller, Randolph Mantooth, and Kevin Tighe also appeared in an episode of the Webb-produced series Adam-12, reprising their roles. London and Troup appeared as panelists on the game show Tattletales several times in the 1970s. In the 1950s London appeared in a advertisment for Marlboro cigarettes singing the "Marlboro Song", and in 1978 appeared in television advertisements for Rose Milk Skin Care Cream.
Bethlehem's Girlfriends (1955 - debut recordings)
Julie Is Her Name (1955, U.S. #2)
Lonely Girl (1956, U.S. #16)
Calendar Girl (1956, U.S. #18)
About the Blues (1957, U.S. #15)
Make Love to Me (1957)
Julie Is Her Name, Volume II (1958)
London by Night (1958)
Swing Me an Old Song (1959)
Your Number Please (1959)
Julie...At Home (1960)
Around Midnight (1960)
Send for Me (1961)
Whatever Julie Wants (1961)
The Best of Julie (1962)
Sophisticated Lady (1962)
Love Letters (1962)
Love on the Rocks (1962)
Latin in a Satin Mood (1963)
Julie's Golden Greats (1963)
The End of the World (1963, U.S. #127)
The Wonderful World of Julie London (1963, U.S. #136)
Julie London (1964)
In Person at the Americana (1964)
Our Fair Lady (1965)
Feeling Good (1965)
By Myself (1965, produced exclusively for the Columbia Record Club)
All Through the Night: Julie London Sings the Choicest of Cole Porter (1965)
For the Night People (1966)
Nice Girls Don't Stay for Breakfast (1967)
With Body & Soul (1967)
Easy Does It (1968)
Yummy, Yummy, Yummy (1969)
The Very Best Of Julie London (1975)
The Ultimate Collection (2006) [3 CD Box Set]
"Cry Me a River" (U.S. #9, 1955)
"Blue Moon" (South Africa #7, 1961)
"Desafinado" (Slightly Out Of Tune)" (U.S. # 110, 1962)
"I'm Coming Back To You" (U.S. # 118, 1963)
"Yummy Yummy Yummy" (U.S. #125, 1968)
"Like To Get To Know You" (Easy Listening #15, 1969)
Diamond Horseshoe (1945) (bit part)
On Stage Everybody (1945)
A Night in Paradise (1946) (bit part)
The Red House (1947)
Tap Roots (1948)
Task Force (1949)
Return of the Frontiersman (1950)
The Fat Man (1951)
The Fighting Chance (1955)
The Girl Can't Help It (1956)
Crime Against Joe (1956)
The Great Man (1956)
Saddle the Wind (1958)
Voice in the Mirror (1958)
Man of the West (1958)
Night of the Quarter Moon (1959)
The Wonderful Country (1959)
A Question of Adultery (1959)
The Third Voice (1960)
The George Raft Story (1961)
What's My Line? Mystery guests on September 29, 1957 (Episode # 382) (Season 9 Episode 5), (three episodes) (1957–1961)
Rawhide (one episode) (1960)
Dan Raven with Skip Homeier as June Carney in the episode "Tinge of Red" (1960)
The Barbara Stanwyck Show as Julie in "Night Visitors" (1961)
The Eleventh Hour as Joan Ashmond in the episode "Like a Diamond in the Sky") (1963)
The Big Valley (one episode) (1967)
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (two episodes, "The Prince of Darkness Affair," Part 1, Part 2, (1967), re-released as the feature film, The Helicopter Spies (1968)
Emergency! (1972–1979) series regular
Adam-12 (one episode, Lost and Found) as Dixie McCall
Tattletales (game show hosted by Bert Convy, 1974–1978)
Emergency: Survival on Charter #220 (1978)