Randolph Mantooth Interview

 
 

    Long before he became a 1980s soap hunk, including a role on both "Loving" and "The City," a popular character actor, a health advocate, and for being a widely-renown conference speaker, Randolph "Randy" Mantooth, a lifelong Julie London fan, who played the role of Kevin Tighe's young, hotshot paramedic partner & Julie London's helper, Johnny Gage, said in a 2016 interview with Gary Richard Collins II @ The Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea, MI, about Jack Webb (who) strongly wanted him & Kevin [Tighe] to both read for Julie London, the lead actress on ‘Emergency!,' who (in turn) said if it was also her show, “We never read for her. It was an ensemble cast and she was a big partner to us!" Mantooth also added, if Julie London; was the consummate professional, like everybody else; who frequently came to work each and everyday; listening to technical advisors, working with real-life medical staff, knowing her lines; reading the medical dictionary; involved in several writings of the scripts, all that good stuff, off-camera, he said: "Absolutely, she was the consummate professional!" Then, he said, like nobody else, she would also be the 1st female 'Emergency!,' star ever to have been an iconic singer of the 50s/60s, and a modern woman of the 70s; not a diva, “She was talented and didn’t need many words and we didn’t need much paragraph to do that!”


     Randy, then said in a 2013 interview with the Tulcan Times about his soul, surrogate mother and best friend, who was very instrumental in the series, “Julie London was a mentor for all of us. She would let the words work for her, rather than emoting. That’s all anybody needed.” This was a few months after he was interviewed by Tom Blixa on 610WTVN Radio in Cincinnati, about Julie London who had a potty-mouth off-camera, who commented 30 min. of the 'Emergency!,' bloopers, was, "Lot of salty language, though; and we’ve learned every bad word from Julie London. I'm quite serious! I loved her to death; but, she herself said, 'I'm a broad!,' I loved her!" 

 Mantooth also said in a 2008 interview with Fancast.com, about the losses of both London/Troup: "It was a killer when he (Bobby Troup) passed away and Julie, too. It was like a real end of an era for us ... I still think about them and those times when Bobby was telling me how he wrote the song, "Route 66", and what he was going through ... I remember saying, ‘Randy remember every word he is telling you’ ..."


    "Julie London was so great, and she always referred to herself as a 'broad'. My fondest memory of her was the sheer joy of working with her ... she always had this droll sense of humor and I also remember sitting in their home [they were married from 1960 until he died in 1999; she was previously married to Jack Webb from 1947-1953]. It was this typical L.A. sprawling house in the hills overlooking the Valley and there were all these photos of Frank Sinatra and others ... I remember sitting there thinking I have been allowed to enter this sanctum that most people don't ever get to see. It was really neat."


    Then, he said about his friendship with her, also, if his relationship with Julie London would move him one step closer to flirting with the lady who was once married to Jack Webb, “Johnny’s relationship with Dixie, he loved her! She was always … a lot of people would say, ‘Hey, did you have a crush on Julie London?’ She was 2 years younger than my mom. No, I didn’t have a crush on her; but; I loved her! I loved her and Bobby so much and that love was reciprocated, and Kevin … we were like their sons.” He also added, “So, Dixie probably trained Johnny, and of course, Johnny knows a good looking woman, when he sees one; but that’s also the woman who also trained me to become a paramedic, so, I wasn’t going to flirt with her. But he likes being around her – ‘Hi, Dix!, how are you doing?’ That’s that relationship!”

 

    Afterwards, Randy also said about visiting her’s & her second husband’s house, “I remember Kevin and I were over at their house. Now, Julie was married to Jack Webb, had 3 kids by Jack. Bobby was married … and I forgot, who also had 3 kids of his own. Julie and Bobby got married and had 3 kids, so they got 9 kids. They’re like Ma and Pa Kettle, over there and I remember it was this typical Hollywood kind of low furniture, view of Studio City, piano. Julie was a torch singer, sang ‘Cry Me A River,’ she was so good; and Bobby, that’s how they met at a jazz club; and Bobby was always trying to get Julie to sing and Julie wouldn’t sing."


    "Julie, as more as time went on, she became a girlphobic.  She just didn’t want to get out of the house and it all started when she didn’t want to sing anymore. Dinah Shore tried to get her to sing on her show --- it was painful to watch because Julie wouldn’t do it. Dinah said, ‘Julie, you have the most beautiful voice in the world, please?’” Mantooth also added, “Bobby kept saying, ‘I keep telling her.’ We were sitting in our living rooms and the kids were always trying … Anyways, this big sprawling house in Studio City, up on the top looking out, over the valley, the lights were shimmering. It was this typical, would you imagine, Hollywood ship-like, low furniture, low coffee table, pillows, and Julie and Bobby were always drinking these drinks, this fancy martinis or something, that was like a movie.” He then said about his secondary series’ lead’s refusal to sing with Bobby Troup, “Anyways, Bobby was always tinkling on the thing, ‘Come on Julie!, sing this with me!,’ She said, ‘No, I’m not, Bobby, stop it, leave me alone!’ He said, ‘Come on, Julie!’ And were kind of just sitting around.”


    Then, he earlier said about the time he met this iconic singer/moviestar, on a groundbreaking NBC TV show, Emergency!, if she was not a crazy, impish diva, “No, she was not. She was not impish nor a diva. She was a soul, kind of mother. She was the kindest person I have ever known.” The last thing Mantooth had said, if it was ever up to Julie London, who made sure that both Kevin Tighe & Randy himself had stayed calm with her, “I don't know if it was up to her, but Kevin & I both had kept calm by her personality, when we were shooting in the hospital. Bobby Troup only knew who she was … she was just like Julie! She made us laugh!” For most of the 21 years after the cancelation of Emergency!, Randolph actually kept in touch with Julie, he always thought about her, every minute admiring her.


    Julie's relatives's deaths, included that of Josephine (Julie's real-life mother), in 1976, followed by Jack (Julie's real-life father), a year later, in 1977, followed by the untimely death of Jack Webb (Julie's real-life ex-husband, boss & best friend) death in 1982, then, Stacy's (Julie's real-life daughter) in 1996, and of course, Bobby’s (Julie’s real-life second husband’s, her one-time Emergency! co-star & best friend’s) death in 1999, all of them drew London & Mantooth, closer, as he was mourning in front of a TV star, who helped him get star status, the previous decade. He also appeared, along with best buddy, Kevin Tighe, in the "Emergency!" reunion, twice, between 1986 (for "Good Morning America," which was hosted by a fan of 'Emergency!', Joan Lunden) and in 1998, at a conference in Burbank, between both of those events, her husband (Bobby Troup) came to both of them, as for London, she did not appear in both of those reunions, one in 1986 was for personal reasons and in 1998 due to her stroke she suffered, a few years ago, just a couple years before her death, which at that point, Mantooth, Tighe & her husband (Troup, just 4 years before his death) all had a real-life emergency, when they 3 all visited the ailing London in the hospital.

Webmaster’s note: A tip of the hat to regular julielondon.org fan Gary Richard Collins II. He is also a huge Emergency! fan and sent me an excerpt of an extensive interview Randy Mantooth, (Paramedic John Gage) gave where he talks about his career and seven seasons working with Julie London and Bobby Troup on Emergency! A lifelong friendship with the couple followed.


(For the record, Julie had two daughters with first husband, Jack Webb and Bobby Troup had two daughters with his first wife, Cynthia Hare. Julie and Bobby had three children together. All seven children were raised together in Julie’s and Bobby’s Encino home. You can understand how challenging it must have been to get an accurate head count if you were Randy.)

Interview by Amy Harrington

Archive of American Television

December 13, 2013

Kevin Tighe as Roy DeSoto, Julie London as Dixie McCall and Randy Mantooth as John Gage.