It’s A Man’s World - Julie

 
 

Hollywood

JULIE LONDON, that fine figure of a woman who brought
a new dimension to record album covers, permitted a wry smile to cross those classic features of hers as she sat back in her dressing room at Four Star, having disposed of a steak sandwich.

Somehow, looking at her and remembering those covers, you had expected her to be nine feet tall; she is by no means a small woman but she is small-boned; the cheekbones are high, the eyes wide set. If James Michener wasn't exaggerating when he once said that every port in the South Seas has at least one girl who looks like Julie London, then the South Seas is obviously the place to be.

"You are talking," said Miss London with a sigh, "to the original Miss Type-casting. If the script says, 'Sultry singer who slinks around the set and sometimes sings,' they send out a call for me, which is all right except that by now I can play the part blindfolded. I mean, I've already done that part – and done it and done it."

Her voice is low, warn, controlled, with a touch of humor. "Ah, but when those juicy plum acting parts come along, I'll tell you who they don't call-me. At least not very often. All right, so of all the pictures I've done I'd only write home about two--'The Great Man' and 'Voice in the Mirror,' but at least I've done those two and they really had scripts. The writing moved!" She brightened. "I just did an Eleventh Hour show and there, for a change, was a script!"

• • •

        In the last few years, Julie, who started her career as an actress, has trod a dual path on television guest-starring in perhaps 50-odd dramas and also singing on the Dinah Shore and Ed Sullivan shows. She would welcome her own anthology series but she is realistic enough not to expect one to come her way.

        "Television is a man's world," she said, pointing an' accusing finger. "In the old movie days the gals prevailed - Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Claudette Colbert, Jean Arthur and so on. But on TV mark down Loretta Young and Donna Reed and the list evaporates.

        "But then, look, it's a man's world outside of television, too, and who's kidding who. It's a fact of life. The male is dominant; people still look out of the corner of their eye at women in certain male-type professions and there are still  areas where women should know they look ridiculous."

    "Such as?"

    "Such as playing the trumpet," Miss London said, "Or the drums or the bass. I simply prefer to see men doing male things. And the way for a woman to detract from her femininity is to do masculine things unattractively. I'll put it this way: When a girl gives up the harp to play the trumpet, you might say she's making a mistake."

        "Now as for your singing...?"

        She shook her head, tossing her mane of brown-gold hair. "I'm really no singer at all. I just open my mouth and let the sounds and the words come out and hope I'm in tune. What I am is a stylist. Of course some stylists are also singers-Ella Fitzgerald sings and styles all over the place and she's unbeatable but I'm just a gal with a style. I just keep selling the style and hope the roy allies keep coming in."

        "And about those album covers?"

        Miss London issued a gentle shrug. "The sex thing? The posing, you mean? It's just an acting job, a role like any other. I'm playing a part. I'm playing Sultry  Julie but as I look at the camera I'm thinking, “maybe I'll try that new recipe for curry tonight.’ “

 

The Chicago Daily Tribune

February 17, 1963

By Donald Freeman