Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Curves Ahead; The Incomparable Julie London

She was born Julie Peck in Santa Rosa, California, in 1926, to Jack and Josephine Peck, a vaudeville song-and-dance team. The family moved to San Bernardino, California when Julie was 14. She graduated there from Hollywood Professional High School and soon after took a job as a $19-a-week elevator operator in a department store in Hollywood. She sang at night with a band led by the violinist Matty Malneck. Julies lucky star was in her orbit. A chance meeting with talent agent Sue Carol would help start her movie career. The roles she first recieved were minor such as in Jungle Woman in 1944 and Nabongna in 1945, but she quickly gained popularity with movie goers with her performance in The Red House in 1947 with Edward G. Robinson.

pictured: Julie London and Lon McCallister

Ms. Londons singing and acting was put on hold for a time during a brief marriage to actor, Jack Webb. Julie met Jack Webb when she was fifteen; the two dated off and on until the marriage in 1947. Julie and Jack had two beautiful daughters, Stacy (1950) and Alisa (1952), during their relationship. Webb became a great star with the television series "Dragnet". The pressures of stardom coupled with the fact that webb was a self professed workaholic put an obvious strain on his marriage with Julie and it ended after 6 years in 1953. Webb always spoke highly of Julie and they remained friends throughout thier lifetimes.
Julie and Jack Webb at home

Julie and Jack with baby daughter 1953

After the divorce, Julie became somewhat reclusive and focused her energy on motherhood which was a role she cherished. While still married to Webb, Julie and he had shared a mutual love of Jazz music. and had spent many evenings touring the clubs together. Her love for jazz remained and she met the bandleader, Bobby Troup, during a nightclub visit on La Brea Avenue.. They quickly became smitten with one another and began dating. Bobby clearly recognized julies talent for singing and encouraged it. He believed she could make a career with such a talent. Finally giving in, Julie began singing at different nightclubs. The word quickly got around and Julie London became the most popular female vocalist for 1955, 1956, and 1957 as named by Billboard.

Always beautiful

Julie London, Feb. 1957

Julie London, Around Midnight 1960

My favorite LP cover of Julies

Julie London, Your Number Please, 1959

Julies voice has been refered to as "intimate, sleek, and sultry as well as smoky, husky, breathy, haunting, intimate and even "a voice for a smoke-filled room." My favorite is "A molten Mezzo."
While her looks clearly did attract record buyers, her voice was incomparable. Singing close to the microphone, London’s voice sounded controlled yet relaxed. It has been said that "the purity and naturalness of her vocal style tempts one to take it for granted, yet few if any singers have matched it." the anonymous author of the liner notes to London’s second album wrote: "there is an appealing loneliness in Julie, she has a way of getting out on a plane all by herself where no one can reach her". Julies music was so popular that "many male admirers bought her albums simply to gaze upon her come-hither countenance on the dust jacket", according to Hal Erickson (All Movie Guide). London recorded more than 30 albums--among them "Julie Is Her Name," "Lonely Girl," "Calendar Girl," "About the Blues," "Make Love to Me," and "London by Night", Despite all of the wonderful praise, Julie was notoriously shy and uncomfortable with stardom.
She was always very modest and rarely, if ever, took credit for her talent or work. She was a beautiful woman in spirit and heart as well as on the surface

Julie was once quoted as saying: "I'm sure any vocal teacher that listens to me would rather cut my throat than do anything."

Julie and Bobby Troup married on December 31, 1959, they had one daughter, Kelly and twin sons, Jody and Reese. Bobby was also a much beloved stepfather to Julies daughters from her marriage to Jack Web. Julie said about marriage; "I think that`s one of the most difficult things in any marriage - in order to build anything, you must be together. You can`t build anything over the telephone."

Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Troup, 1960 New Years

Julie, Bobby and friend working hard

Julie, Bobby (facing camera) and friend

Always working; Julie and Bobby

Julie and Bobby rehearsing at home as a family member looks on

Along with her new singing career, Julie's film career took off once more and she began guesting on television variety shows, appearing on shows such as Dinah Shore, Bob Hope, Steve Allen and Perry Como. Troup, the songwriter of such hits as "Route 66," even got her to write a couple of songs, the title song for the 1958 film about Alcoholics Anonymous in which she starred and sang, "The Voice in the Mirror." was written by Julie.

julie london and Richard Egan, " the voice in the mirror"

Julie and Bobby were hired in 1972 by Julies ex husband Jack Webb to act in his new television production, EMERGENCY! Julie was nurse Dixie McCall to Troup's neurosurgeon, Dr. Joe Early during the series' run from 1972 to 1977. EMERGENCY!

Julie as Dixie McCall EMERGENCY! 72-79

Julie 1967 (one of my favorites of her)

Julie at the Waldorf Hotel 1968

brought Julie to a whole new group of fans. It was a popular series during its run and has gained a great following by lovers of classic television today with the much awaited release of the show on DVD.
Julie enjoyed playing Dixie McCall and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work on EMERGENCY! It was family, not career, that was Julie's priority. She was extremely family oriented and a real homebody, She spent as much time as possible with her husband and children at home. In regards to the family home, Julie said;
"I think homes should reflect the individuals and their individual taste rather than someone else`s." She enjoyed knitting, playing games with the kids, swimming, etc. Home truly is where Julies and the heart of her family was.

All the kids staying close to mom !

The Family Bed

Taking it easy at home

Julie in 1957 with Daughters Stacy & Alisa
and family pet

Julie and Bobby enjoying a meal

Dad stokes the fire while everyone else gets warm

Julie and the girls, Stacy and Alisa, Jan 1957

Julie with girls at home 57

Julie with Stacy and Alisa, at home 1957

Julies last music recording, "My Funny Valentine," for the film "Sharky's Machine" was made in 1981 after which she quite happily retired. Julie acted in 24 movies and her last motion picture was "The George Raft Story" in 1961, in which she portrayed Raft's first girlfriend, Sheila Patton. Julies last album was "Yummy, Yummy Yummy" in 1969. (thank you much to Mr. Lopez for that correction!) Julie considered the album "Easy Does It" her very best.

Julie with Ray Danton in the George Raft Story

Bobby Troup LP with his beloved Julie on cover

Julie and Bobbys marriage lasted 40 loving years. Many who knew them said "BobbyandJulie" as if they were one word, and that was the feeling of their life together.
About her husband Julie said once; " Bobby was one of the few people I had ever known who really wanted to do something for me." Julie suffered from a stroke in 1995 and began to suffer from many health problems from then on. in 1996 a sad and painful tragedy struck the family when their daughter Stacy was killed along with her passenger, Stephen Barnicoat, when the pickup she was driving collided with a california state patrol car. She was only 46. Bobby doted on and cared for Julie until his death from a massive heart attack at UCLA medical Center in 1999. Sadly and in a way, not surprisingly, Julie died a year later of cardiac arrest at 5:30 a.m. in Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center in October, (on Bobbys birthday), 2000, leaving behind a legacy and a voice that will be forever incomparable.

The Beautiful Julie London at NY Idlewilde Airport 70's


  1. Fantastic post!!! Julie is one of my all time favourite singers X

  2. Thank you for this wonderful article and all the photos!!


  3. Wonderful post...My favourite is cry me a river

  4. Very nice post. Love her...

    I confess that old 'Around Midnight' LP cover always made me think:

    "I'll be by a little later, when it's around ten 'til Two".

  5. I love the cheesecake-y Round Midnight album cover.

  6. correction - Julie's last album wasn't "Easy Does It" ... it was "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy", 1969. You are correct that "Easy Does It" was Julie's personal favorite. Her rendition of "Me and My Shadow" is the best I have ever heard.

  7. hi there...I am a new follower of your awesome blog...I adore this woman! I have a few of her albums and her voice was perfection. Great blog post! :)



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