Julie London: The Sultry Songstress is Silenced at 74
Julie London, the smoky-voiced torch singer who insisted she couldn't sing but who's voice sent shivers down spines and who's album covers alone turned men weak in the knees and women green with envy, has died. She was 74. London, also beloved as "Emergency!"s head nurse, Dixie McCall, died at Los Angeles' Encino Hospital from complications of a stroke she suffered five years ago.
Ms. London, also known as Mrs. Bobby Troup, was born Julie Peck in Santa Rosa and moved to Los Angeles at age 14 with her vaudeville song-and-dance team parents. She had roles in movies including "Jungle Woman" (1944) "The Red House" (1947) with Edward G. Robinson, "Task Force" (1949) with Gary Cooper, "The Fat Man" (1950) with Rock Hudson, and "A Question of Adultery" (1958)
Her first recorded single, "Cry Me a River" in 1956 propelled her to musical history. In 1955, 56, and 57, she was voted one of Billboard's top female vocalists. Her hits included "Around Midnight", "In The Middle of a Kiss", "In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning", and "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." Theme Magazine dubbed her it's "Most Exciting New Vocalist" for 1956, and Variety applauded the actress "who digs into a dramatic role and socks it with aplomb." In 1971 she took the role of Rampart Emergency's head nurse Dixie McCall and endeared herself to a new generation of fans. She retired when the hit show ended it's 7 year run in 1978.
Ms. London was married to "Dragnet" star Jack Webb for five years, and was the widow of "Emergency!" co-star and jazz legend Bobby Troup, who penned the classic "Get Your Kicks on Route 66". They had been married for 39 years at the time of his death in February of 1999. In a tragically romantic twist, October 18th would have been Troup's 82nd birthday. Ms. London leaves five children, two stepchildren, and 4 grandchildren.