Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Julie London (September 26, 1926 – October 18, 2000) was an American singer and actress who was known for her smoky, sensual voice and role as Nurse Dixie McCall on the television show Emergency! (1972 - 1977).
Born in Santa Rosa, California as Julie Peck, she was the daughter of parents who had a vaudeville song-and-dance team. When she was 14, they moved to Los Angeles. Shortly after that, she began appearing in movies. She graduated from Hollywood Professional High School in 1944.
She was married to Jack Webb of Dragnet fame. Her obvious beauty and self-poise (she was a pinup girl prized by GIs during World War II) contrasted with his pedestrian appearance and stiff-as-a-board acting technique (much parodied by impersonators). This unlikely pairing arose from his love for jazz music; their marriage lasted from 1947 to 1953. They had two children, including a daughter who survived her. In 1954, having become somewhat reclusive after her divorce from Webb, she met jazz composer and musician Bobby Troup. They married on December 31, 1959; only his death in 1999 ended their marriage. Together, they had three children. She suffered a stroke in 1995 and was in poor health until her death in Encino, California at the age of 74.
Career as a Singer
Julie London began singing in public in her teens, prior to her first movie appearance. She was discovered by Sue Carol (wife of Alan Ladd) while London was working as an elevator operator. Her early film career did not include any singing parts.
Her professional singing career began in 1955 with a live performance at the 881 Club in Los Angeles and she recorded 32 albums. She was named one of Billboard's most popular female vocalists for 1955, 1956, and 1957. In 1957, she was the subject of a Life magazine 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."
Among her most famous singles are "Cry Me a River" (penned by her high school classmate Arthur Hamilton ); "No Moon at All"; "My Heart Belongs to Daddy"; and "Two Sleepy People". Songs such as "Go Slow" epitomized her career style: her voice is slow, smoky, and sensual. The lyrics strongly suggest sex but never explicitly define it:
Go slow, oooooh honey, take it easy on the curves;
When love is slow, oooooh honey, what a tonic for my nerves.
Go slow, oooooh honey, we've got such a lot of time;
When love is slow, oooooh honey, how the mercury does climb.
Her whispered "you make me feel so good" at the end is breathy and suggests a sexually satisfied partner.
Career as an Actress
Movies in which Julie London appeared are:
- Nabonga (1944)
- 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)
- Crime Against Joe (1956)
- The Great Man (1957)
- Drango (1957)
- 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)
Television shows in which Julie London appeared are:
- The Helicopter Spies (1968)
- Emergency! (1972 - 1977)
- Tattletales! (game show hosted by Bert Convy, 1974-1978)
- Emergency: Survival on Charter #220 (1978)
Ironically, her ex-husband, Jack Webb, was the producer of "Emergency!" and hired both his ex-wife and her current husband to key roles on his show. She was the still-sensual bombshell, even in middle age; Troup played neurosurgeon Dr. Joe Early.
On her passing in 2000, Julie London was interred in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.
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