Julie London Lives The Blues

 
 
L
ast Month, Julie London walked through her unfinished $200,000 mansion in fashionable Royal Oaks, Calif.---and wondered if it would solve her problems. All her life she has yearned for security and roots. Maybe a house will provide what money and stardom haven’t.

Five years ago she won a $500,000 settlement when she divorced Jack Webb, but it didn’t give her the security she wanted.

First of all, only a small percentage was in a lump sum, most of it coming as alimony which will stop when she marries again---and the odds are that Julie will become Mrs. Bobby Troup, wife of the musician-actor, by the end of the year.

The 32-year-old Julie is a depression child who never outgrew the severities of her parents’ one-room apartment, the evenings she watched them forgo their own meals to assure her a proper diet, and the many times her salesman-father came home discouraged because he was unable to find a job.



Yet in one way, these negatives turned into an asset. They generated the attitude for Julie is foremost a survivor when she thought she had no character and no talent.

She’s come a long way from the ingénue in B pictures is the star in tonight’s “Frances Langford Presents” television show on NBC. Her career began quite accidentally when Sue Ladd, wife of actor Alan Ladd and then still an agent, was impressed by the attractive blue-eyed elevator operator who earned $29 a week at a Hollywood department store and encouraged her to accept parts.

Although Julie earned $200 a week for her film roles, she steadfastly refused to leave her elevator job until a movie contract at Warner Brothers promised her more financial security.

None of Julie’s first films is worth mentioning. Her performances were standard flat, uninspired. But she was beautiful and in those days, that was enough to keep a girl in front of the cameras.

When she married Jack Webb in 1948, Julie retired. When the marriage fell apart five years later, she was anxious to return to work, but conditions had changed. With the movie industry in financial trouble, Julie’s physical qualifications no longer got her work. And at that time she wasn’t conscious of another asset---her voice.

Julie never believed she could sing and still doesn’t. “I’m a stylist,” she insists, “not a singer.” Afraid of audiences, she would sing only in the privacy of her own home. But friends urged her to capitalize on her voice, and she agreed to cut some records. The result justified her self-doubts. None of the four records she made for Bethlehem were even released.

Without Bobby Troup, she might never have tried singing again.

They were together one night at an intimate little place called John Walsh’s 881 Club. Quite casually Julie told her boy friend, “If I’d ever work any place, this would be it.” Unknown to her, Troup promptly booked her at the club. When he told Julie, she turned pale from fear.

She needn’t have worried. Her three-week engagement stretched to ten. Encouraged by her acceptance, she cut another record, “Cry Me a River,” for Liberty, was a hit.

Night clubs were just stepping stones, and Julie insists she wants no more of them. “I get twice as nervous now about appearing in public than I ever did.” She says. “People expect more.”

Next she concentrated on television and also appeared opposite José Ferrer in the film, “The Great Man.” Matured by an unhappy marriage, Julie developed such dramatic ability that few people recognize her as the starlet who had appeared in so many mediocre parts before retirement.

The demand for Julie is apparent in her four starring roles in 1958, including soon-to-be-released “The Wonderful Country” opposite Bob Mitchum, which she considers her best picture to date.

Although one of the busiest performers in Hollywood, Julie has not forgotten her responsibility as a mother of two. “When I got my divorce, I was told that women who raise children on their own tend to be more lenient. I feel that just the opposite is true in my case. Being the only one doing the disciplining has made me much stricter than before.

Julie never travels for any length of time without the children Stacy, 9, and Lisa, 6. When she went to England to make a movie in 1957, she enrolled them at the American School in London. When she spent three months in the wildest part of Mexico for “The Wonderful Country” she brought along a teacher to teach the children during their absence from school.



Generally speaking, Julie spends her money carefully – except for the 6,000 square foot two story house in Royal Oaks complete with swimming pool and three fireplaces.

“I guess I don’t really need such a huge home” Julie admits “but when I had the place drawn up I kept remembering the little apartment I shared with my parents and I just had to get a big place.

For Julie, the new house has become a symbol of serenity and security---for herself and for her children.



 

Success and wealth haven’t helped this singer-

actor forget the insecurity of her childhood years.

Sunday - March 15, 1959

Sunday Herald - Family Weekly Magazine

By Peer J. Oppenheimer

Julie London and Frances Langford at rehearsal for TV show tonight.

Daughter Lisa, 6, sleeps in Julie’s lap on the set of “The Wonderful Country” in Mexico.

Julie enjoys and evening out with fiancé, actor-musician Bobby Troup.