She Cried A River

 
 

One of the hottest properties in the record business today is a strikingly attractive girl with long, taffy-colored hair, a heart-shaped face and a breathtaking figure. Her first record album, Julie Is Her Name, zoomed to the top of the list last month, and the nation’s juke boxes throbbed to her torchy rendition of “Come on, an’ cry me a river ---Cry me a river --- I cried a river over you.”

Julie London denies any special significance to the lyrics of the song that her husky, sexy voice made into a national hit. But there’s a haunting sadness in her eyes that not even her new-found career has been able to dispel.

It’s no secret that Julie was deeply hurt by the failure of her marriage to Jack “Dragnet” Webb. Speculation as to the reasons for the split have included both Webb’s driving ambition, and a roving eye once the success of Dragnet had made him a target for predatory females. Julie refuses to discuss the reasons, beyond saying “we just started to drift apart.”

Julie had been a movie star in her own right before she was 20. Shortly after starring in The Red House with Edward G. Robinson, she married Webb, then a struggling actor and radio announcer. “We had a lot in common then,” muses Julie. “We both liked music and acting, and Jack was my first beau. We had our first date when I was 15.”

After their marriage Julie happily abandoned her own career for that of a wife and mother. Her first child, Stacy, was born six months after Dragnet went on the air. Three years later, in 1952, a second daughter, Lisa, arrived. But things were not going well with the Webbs. In 1953, after a trial separation and reconciliation had failed, Julie obtained a divorce.

On her own once more, she began dating a young pianist and songwriter named Bobby Troup. At the parties and informal gatherings they attended Julie was always in demand for her husky, torchy way of singing the blues. Finally Troup persuaded her to try singing professionally and lined up a booking for her at a Hollywood nightclub.

“I was scared to death,” Julie confesses, “mad at myself for being talked into it, and mad at Bobby for pushing me. I wouldn’t even let him come to the opening. I was sure I would fall flat on my face.”

Happily, her debut as a singer turned out so well that the club held her over for nine weeks and Bobby Troup, back in Julie’s good graces, suggested she record an album of songs.

Julie remembered a friend from her high school days named Arthur Hamilton, who had turned out several hit songs. She turned to him for some original numbers that she could include in her album.

Hamilton, who had written some of the songs for Pete Kelly’s Blues --- produced by, and starring, Jack Webb came up with several appropriate numbers including one song that Julie was crazy about.

“Arthur had written it for Ella Fitzgerald to sing in Pete Kelly’s Blues,” says Julie, “but Jack turned it down. The song, of course, was Cry Me A River, and after the album was released it was played so often by the nation’s disc jockeys that it was reissued as a single.”

Columnists have been hinting at wedding bells for Julie and Bobby Troup, but she won’t make any predictions.

“I’m going steady with Bobby,” she says, with one of her rare smiles. “It sounds juvenile, I know, but that’s the way it is. Bobby had one unsuccessful marriage, too, and we want to be very, very sure before doing anything permanent. And for the first time in my life I’m enjoying a career --- so I want to make the most of it before I get too old.”

But somehow one gathers the impression that when and if Julie is sure that this is the real thing, her career will be quickly forgotten. Because to Julie London, a happy home is worth more than any amount of fame.

The Milwaukee Sentinel

April 29, 1956

By John T. McCullough

Julie London gave up acting to marry Jack Webb --- but when they broke up she bounced back into the spotlight…as a singer.

Julie London --- She was “scared to death I’d fall flat on my face” if she sang professionally, but her debut was so successful that she was asked to record and album which included Cry Me A River --- the song her former husband once rejected for his movie but which jumped Julie to stardom overnight.