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London, Julie (1926–2000)

London, Julie (1926–2000)

American singer and actress whose "Cry Me a River" stayed on top of the music charts for months. Born Julie Peck in Santa Rosa, California, on September 26, 1926; died in Los Angeles, California, on October 18, 2000; daughter of Jack and Josephine (Taylor) Peck (song-and-dance vaudeville performers who ran a photography studio on the side); attended Arrowview Junior High School, San Bernardino, California; married Jack Webb (an actor), in 1947 (divorced 1953); married Bobby Troup (a jazz musician and songwriter), on December 31, 1959; children: (first marriage) two daughters, Stacy Webb and Lisa Webb .

Filmography:

Jungle Woman (1944); Nabonga (1945); On Stage Everybody! (1945); A Night in Paradise (1946); The Red House (1947); Tap Roots (1948); Task Force (1949); Return of the Frontiersman (1950); The Fat Man (1951); The Fighting Chance (1955); Crime Against Joe (1956); The Great Man (1956); The Girl Can't Help It (1956); Drango (1957); Saddle the Wind (1958); Voice in the Mirror (1958); Man of the West (1958); The Wonderful Country (1959); Night of the Quarter Moon (1959); A Question of Adultery (1959); The Third Voice (1960); The George Raft Story (1961); Sanctuary (1961).

Records:

Cry Me a River/ 'S Wonderful (Lib 55006), Baby, Baby, All the Time/ Shadow Woman (Lib 55008); LPs: Julie Is Her Name, Vol. 1 (Lib 3006), Make Love to Me (Lib 3060), Julie Is Her Name, Vol. 2 (Lib 3100), Swing Me an Old Song (Lib 3119), Send for Me (Lib 3171), The Best of Julie (Lib 5501), All Through the Night (Lib 7434), Nice Girls Don't Stay (Lib 7493), With Body and Soul (Lib 7514), Easy Does It (Lib 7546), Yummy, Yummy, Yummy (Lib 7609), Soft and Sweet (Sun 5161).

A stunning woman with arguably one of the most sensual singing voices ever recorded, Julie London was well into a second-rate film career when jazz musician Bobby Troup put her in front of a microphone and encouraged her to sing. Her first album, Julie is Her Name, produced her most memorable song "Cry Me a River," which, when it was later released as a single, remained on the charts for months and led Theme magazine to vote her the "most exciting new vocalist" of 1956. On the heels of her breakthrough as a singer, London was cast as an alcoholic singer in the movie The Great Man (1956), a role which proved her merit as an actress as well as a singer and reignited her faltering career.

London was born in Santa Rosa, California, in 1926 to a song-and-dance vaudeville team who ran a photographic studio on the side. At the age of three, she made her radio debut, singing "Falling in Love Again." Never a great student, London quit school at 15 and took a job as an elevator operator in a department store on Hollywood Boulevard. It was there that Sue Carol , the actors' agent and wife of Alan Ladd, discovered her and suggested a screen test. On the strength of her looks alone, London won a movie contract and, over the next four years, appeared in secondary roles in low-budget films. Between films, she went back to her $19-a-week job at the department store.

In 1947, London married Jack Webb, who was a struggling radio performer at the time. In 1950, after Webb hit it big with the "Dragnet" television series, London virtually retired from show business. The couple had two daughters before they divorced in 1953. After suffering what she later called a failure of self-confidence, London resumed her career, aided in part by her relationship with Bobby Troup, whom she met in 1954. They would marry in 1959. Troup had heard her sing at a private party and tried for over a year to get her in front of a larger audience. After much cajoling, she agreed to a stint at John Walsh's 881 Club in Los Angeles. Originally booked for three weeks, she stayed for ten and, soon after, was signed by Liberty Records.

London's sound has been characterized as "a voice for a smoke-filled room," with a husky, breathy, intimate quality that lends itself perfectly to the blues and torch songs she preferred. "If I have to, I can belt songs out, but I don't like them that way," she once said. "That's not the natural me." After her role in The Great Man (1956), based on the Al Morgan novel of the same name and directed by José Ferrer, London made a string of mediocre movies. Concurrent with her movie and singing career, she was a frequent guest on television, including appearances on "The Bob Hope Show," "The Steve Allen Show," "The Dinah Shore Show," and "The Perry Como Show." In 1960, she starred as a nightclub owner in her own series, "Maggie Malone," and during the 1970s did a long stint as a nurse on the hospital drama "Emergency." Contrary to her image, London liked to hang around in blue jeans and slouchy sweaters, and was crazy about football.

sources:

Current Biography. NY: H.W. Wilson, 1960.

Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia. NY: Harper-Collins, 1994.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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