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Sultry and Sophisticated SingerCopyright © 2000
Julie London was one of the most successful female singers of the late 1950s. She scored a massive hit with her first single, Cry Me a River, in 1955, and went on to record over 30 albums. She had a small voice, as she acknowledged herself in an interview with Life magazine in 1957, but her sultry, slightly husky delivery enthralled her fans, as did her sophisticated good looks. In that same Life interview, sh said that she had a kind of oversmoked voice and it automatically sounds intimate, qualities which won her a loyal following.
She came from a showbiz family (her parents were a song and dance team), and was discovered by actor Alan Ladd while working as an elevator operator. She was already established as an actress and pin-up when jazz musician Bobby Troupe took her under his wing, and helped shape her into a singer of note. Troupe, the writer of Route 66, became her second husband in 1959, and they remained married for 39 until his death last year.
She began singing with the Matty Malnech Orchestra in the mid-1940s, but gave up her career after marrying her first husband, the actor Jack Webb, in 1947. They had two daughters, but divorced in 1953, and she resumed her career in both singing and acting after meeting Bobby Troupe.
In addition to her many successful records, she appeared in numerous films, including starring as an alcoholic singer in The Great Man (1956). She also composed the title song for Voice in the Mirror. She enjoyed a successful run as Nurse Dixie McCall in the television series Emergency! in the 1970s. She retired from show business in the late 1970s.
She suffered a stroke five years ago, and had been in poor health.
She is survived by a daughter from her marriage to Mr. Webb, Lisa Breen; and by three children from her marriage to Mr. Troupe: a daughter, Kelly Ronick, and twin sons, Jody and Reese.
JJA members are invited to submit a full obituary or appreciation of Julie London.