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Bobby Troup

Troup as Dr. Joe Early on 1970s television show, Emergency! (with wife Julie London, in the role of nurse Dixie McCall)
Background information
Born October 18, 1918(1918-10-18)
Died February 7, 1999 (aged 80)
Genres Jazz
Occupations Composer/Songwriter/Musician, Actor,
Instruments Piano
Years active 1941 - 1995

Robert William "Bobby" Troup Jr. (October 18, 1918 - February 7, 1999) was an American actor, jazz pianist and songwriter. He is best known for writing the popular standard "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66", and for his role as Dr. Joe Early in the 1970s US TV series Emergency!.


Life and music

Bobby Troup was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Bobby Troup was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (ΣΑΕ) fraternity and the Mask and Wig Club.

His earliest musical success came with the song "Daddy" which was a regional hit in 1941. Sammy Kaye and His Orchestra recorded "Daddy", which was no.1 for 8 weeks on the Billboard Best Seller chart and the no.5 record of 1941. Glenn Miller and His Orchestra also performed "Daddy" on their radio broadcasts. In the same year, his song "Snootie Little Cutie" was recorded by Frank Sinatra and Connie Haines with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the Pied Pipers. He served as a Captain in the US Marines during World War II. He was the first white officer to be given command of an all black unit in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where the men were living in tents. Troup's Marines built Quonset huts, new latrines, a nightclub, a boxing ring, a basketball court and formed a basketball team, a jazz band, an orchestra, and had installed a miniature golf course for his men. Soon, white Marines of other units began spending time in that part of camp.[citation needed]

Bobby Troup's first marriage was to Cynthia Hare. Bobby and Cynthia had two daughters.

Troup's light and humorous musical style was similar to that of the Nat King Cole Trio.

In the 1940s Cole had a hit with Troup's best known song "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" which became a hit for Cole and then a popular standard. Chuck Berry recorded "Route 66" in 1961. In 1964, it was one of the earliest recordings by the British rock group The Rolling Stones. In 2006, "Route 66" was featured in the animated movie Cars, and the movie RV with Robin Williams.

Troup produced torch singer Julie London's million selling hit record "Cry Me a River" in 1955 and they married five years later, following London's divorce from actor Jack Webb, then directing and starring in the now-classic Dragnet TV show.

Troup's own recordings in the 1950s and '60s were not commercially successful. Nonetheless, he made some excellent recordings for Liberty Records and Capitol Records, many with musicians that included the best of the West Coast school of jazz.

In February, 1999, Troup died at UCLA Medical Center of a massive heart attack, he was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. His wife, Julie London died the following year, and her cremated remains were placed in the columbarium (Columbarium of Providence) niche, next to his. Incidentally, their former TV producer boss (and London's former husband) Jack Webb (who died in 1982) is buried in the same cemetery.

Television and movies

In the mid-1950s, Troup was one of three regular panelists (along with Mel Blanc and Johnny Mercer) in the game show Musical Chairs, a Bill Leyden-hosted quiz program that aired locally on Los Angeles television for two years before NBC broadcast it in the summer of 1955. On the program, the viewing audience was encouraged to submit questions about music in an effort to stump the panel. The Troup Group provided much of the music in the game show. He also served as host of the NBC show "Stars of Jazz" featuring various jazz luminaries, particularly those working in Hollywood.

The Music of Disney: A Legacy in Song (1992) includes a version of the title song for 1965's That Darn Cat! recorded by Bobby Troup; in the film, it was performed by Bobby Darin.

While he relied on songwriting royalties, Troup also worked as an actor, playing musician Tommy Dorsey in the film The Gene Krupa Story (1959). Later he had a memorable cameo as a disgruntled staff sergeant assigned to driving Hawkeye and Trapper John around in Japan in Robert Altman's 1970 masterpiece M*A*S*H. (His only line of dialogue is a repeated exasperation, "Goddamn army!", later modified to "Goddamn army jeep!"). In 1972, Jack Webb, who had previously used Troup in a 1967 episode of the television series Dragnet, cast him opposite Webb's ex-wife Julie London in the US TV series Emergency!.

Emergency! was created by Webb, who had recently starred in a revival of Dragnet and was producing NBC's popular Adam-12. London and Troup had remained on cordial terms with Webb, who had used Troup (and his daughter Ronny) in episodes of Adam-12 as well as the revived Dragnet. In the role of Dr. Joe Early, Troup projected a relaxed amiability that brought humor to the show and contrasted with the intensity of actor Robert Fuller in the role of Dr. Kelly Brackett.

Troup also wrote the title song (sung by Little Richard) in the classic 1950s rock and roll movie The Girl Can't Help It. An instrumental rendition of his song "The Meaning of the Blues" appeared on the landmark Miles Davis album, Miles Ahead. Troup's hipster interpretation of the fairy tale "The Three Bears" is often erroneously credited to "anonymous" and re-titled "Three Bears Rap", "Three Bears with a Beat", etc. This song was first recorded by the Page Cavanaugh Trio and later by Western Swing bandleader Leon McAuliffe.

Selected compositions

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Bobby Troup (October 18, 1918 – February 7, 1999) was an American actor, jazz pianist and songwriter.


  • If you ever plan to motor west,
    Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
    Get your kicks on route sixty-six.
  • If she walks by, the men folks get engrossed,
    She can't help it, the girl can't help it,
    If she winks an eye, the bread slice turn to toast,
    She can't help it, the girl can't help it,
    If she got a lot, of what they call the most,
    She can't help it, the girl can't help it.
  • Someone’s been eating my porridge said the daddy bear,
    Someone’s been eating my porridge said the mama bear,
    Hey Ba-ba Re-bear said the little wee bear someone has broken my chair!

External links

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