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Julie London

Background information
Birth name Gayle Peck
Born September 26, 1926(1926-09-26)
Origin Santa Rosa, California, United States
Died October 18, 2000 (aged 74)
Encino
Genres Jazz, pop
Occupations Singer, Actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1955 – 1978
Labels Bethlehem Records, Liberty Records
Website Voice in the Mirror: A Tribute to Julie London

Gayle Peck (September 26, 1926 – October 18, 2000), known as Julie London, was an American singer and actress. Best known for her smoky, sensual voice, she was at her singing career's peak in the 1950s. Her acting career lasted more than 35 years, concluding it with the role of nurse Dixie McCall on the television series Emergency! (1972–1979).

Contents

Early life

Born Gayle Peck in Santa Rosa, California, she was the daughter of Jack and Josephine Peck, who were a vaudeville song-and-dance team. When she was 14, the family moved to Los Angeles. Shortly after that, she began appearing in movies. She graduated from the Hollywood Professional School in 1945.

Marriages

In July 1947 she married actor Jack Webb (of Dragnet fame). Her widely regarded beauty and poise (she was a pinup girl prized by GIs during World War II) contrasted strongly with his pedestrian appearance and streetwise acting technique (much parodied by impersonators). This unlikely pairing arose from their mutual love for jazz music.[1] They had two daughters, Stacy and Lisa Webb. London and Webb divorced in November 1954. Daughter Stacy Webb was killed in a traffic accident in 1996.

In 1954, having become somewhat reclusive after her divorce from Webb, she met jazz composer and musician Bobby Troup at a club on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles.[2] They married on December 31, 1959, and remained married until his death in February 1999. Together, they had one daughter, Kelly Troup and twin sons, Jody and Reese Troup.[3] Kelly Troup died in March 2002.

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Later life

She suffered a stroke in 1995, and was in poor health because of her long-term cigarette habit until her death on October 18, 2000, in Encino, California, at age 74, survived by four of her five children. London was interred next to Troup in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery, Los Angeles. Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Career

Singing

London began singing in public in her teens before appearing in a film. She was discovered by talent agent Sue Carol (wife of actor Alan Ladd) while London was working as an elevator operator. Her early film career did not include any singing roles.

She recorded 32 albums in a career that began in 1955 with a live performance at the 881 Club in Los Angeles.[4] Billboard named her the most popular female vocalist for 1955, 1956, and 1957. She was the subject of a 1957 Life 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."

Julie London's debut recordings were for the Bethlehem Records label. While shopping for a record deal, she recorded 4 tracks that would later be included on the compilation albums Bethlehem's Girlfriends in 1955. Bobby Troup backed London on the dates, and London recorded the standards Don't Worry About Me, Motherless Child, A Foggy Day, and You're Blasé.

London's most famous single, "Cry Me a River", was written by her high-school classmate Arthur Hamilton and produced by Troup.[5] The recording became a million-seller after its release in December 1955 and also sold on re-issue in April 1983 from the attention brought by a Mari Wilson cover. London performed the song in the film The Girl Can't Help It (1956), and her recording gained later attention in the films Passion of Mind (2000) and V for Vendetta (2006).

Other popular singles include "Hot Toddy," "Daddy" and "Desafinado." Recordings such as "Go Slow" epitomized her career style: her voice is slow, smoky, and sensual. Aside from her music, the notably[citation needed] suggestive portrait photos used on London's album covers made lasting impressions even on the tone deaf.[citation needed]

The song "Yummy Yummy Yummy" was featured on the HBO television series Six Feet Under and appears on its soundtrack album. Her rendition of "The Good Life" was featured in a 2008 British Airways dancing aquatic television advertisement for its new Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport, London, United Kingdom.

Her last recording was "My Funny Valentine" for the soundtrack of the Burt Reynolds film Sharky's Machine (1981).[1]

Film

Primarily remembered as a singer, London also made more than 20 films. One of her strongest performances came in Man of the West (1958), starring Gary Cooper and directed by Anthony Mann, in which her character, the film's only woman, is abused and humiliated by an outlaw gang.

Television

She performed on many television variety series and also in dramatic roles, including guest appearances on Rawhide (1960) and The Big Valley (1968). Her ex-husband Webb was executive producer for the series Emergency!, and in 1972 he hired both his ex-wife and her husband Troup for key roles. London played nurse Dixie McCall), while Troup was emergency-room physician Dr. Joe Early. She and her co-stars Kevin Tighe, Randolph Mantooth, and Robert Fuller also appeared in an episode of the Webb-produced series Adam-12, reprising their roles. London and Troup appeared as panelists on the game show Tattletales several times in the 1970's.

Albums

Charted Recordings

  • "I'm Coming Back To You" (U.S. # 118, 1963)
  • "Yummy Yummy Yummy" (U.S. #125, 1968)
  • "Like To Get To Know You" (Easy Listening #15, 1969)

Filmography

  • 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)
  • The Girl Can't Help It (1956)
  • Crime Against Joe (1956)
  • The Great Man (1956)
  • 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 Work

References

  1. ^ Staggs, Sam. (2003) Close-Up on Sunset Boulevard "St. Martin's Press" p. 289. ISBN 0-312-30254-1.
  2. ^ Powell, D.A. (1998) Tea. "Wesleyan University Press" p. 70. ISBN 0-8195-6334-X.
  3. ^ http://www.nndb.com/people/672/000107351/ and http://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608002890/Julie-London.html
  4. ^ McKnight-Trontz, Jennifer (1999) Exotiquarium: Album Art from the Space Age "St. Martin's Press" p. 77. ISBN 0-312-20133-8.
  5. ^ Cason, Buzz (2004) Living the Rock 'N' Roll Dream: The Adventures of Buzz Cason "Hal Leonard". p. 102. ISBN 0-634-06672-2.

External links


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