Julie London Had Allergy

 
 
      According to NBC’s official biography,
Julie London’s “Cinderella career began shortly after her graduation from high school.” However, Julie London tells me, “I was allergic to school ---and never graduated.”

Exhibiting more of the candor TV audiences have come to expect from Nurse Dixie McCall on the “Emergency” TV series, Julie explains, “I was so miserable in school --- I kept breaking out with rashes. My mother took me from doctor to doctor and they made all the usual allergy tests. I was on every special diet known to man --- and then some! But the results were always the same --- nobody could find anything wrong and I still had hives.

“Finally she found a smart doctor who studied all the reports, made his own examination, and then suggested, ‘Try not sending her to school and see what happens.’

“The hives disappeared the first day --- I never went back to and I’ve never had hives since. I realized how lucky I was to have a mother who’d go along with such a radical cure,” Julie says, but the mother of five adds, “I wouldn’t.”

Julie had a variety of jobs after she left school. “I ran an elevator, sold clothes --- men’s and women’s --- and occasionally took time off to do a bit acting part here and there. The store was wonderful,” the trim, sandy haired blonde remembers, “lots of actors worked there and everyone was understanding whenever I needed time off to perform. But when the acting job was over, I’d go back to my six-day, $19-a-week job --- until I did my first big role in ‘The Red House.’ That was in 1947 and I never went back.”

“Tap Roots” and “Task Force” and some westerns followed. “Horses and I still don’t get along,” Julie remembers.

In 1947, Julie married radio actor Jack Webb and soon “retired” from movies though she did return to do one more western, “because I needed some shutters for our house.” Her marriage to Webb lasted seven years (they were divorced in 1954). They had two daughters, Stacey and Lisa.

A year or so later, Julie wandered into a nightclub where pianist Bobby Troup was performing. They were married in 1959. “Bobby loves to tell people that the first time he saw me he thought ‘I’ve got to find some way to meet that girl --- because I’m going to marry her.’ “ Julie is hazy about her first impression of Bobby. “It was much too soon after my divorce for me to even think about being interested in anyone. Everyone who has gone through a divorce will tell you the same thing --- there’s a period when you have to rediscover yourself,” Julie’s big blue eyes become intense as she explains, “it takes time to regain your self-confidence and feel whole again.”

Whereas she’d given up her acting career with her first marriage, Julie’s second marriage marked the beginning of a second career --- this time as a singer.

“It was Bobby who talked me into singing. I’d sung when I was a kid for my family and at school, but I still don’t know how I got through my first club date. I don’t remember what I did, or who was there, or even the club’s name --- I was so nervous. And I was nervous every time I ever did a club date.”

Her third career, as a recording artist, developed when Bobby brought the owner of his recording company to the club to hear Julie. The sultry-voiced actress says, “I got terribly lucky and my record (“Cry Me A River”) really took off.” Successful recordings followed of “I’ll Remember April”, “A Cottage For Sale”, “Willow Weep For Me”, “Sentimental Journey”, and “Girl Talk” (written by Bobby and Neil Hefti).

The recordings kicked off more film and club work. Julie did nine features in six years (1957-1962). And lots of television. I did every variety show --- Perry Como, Gary Moore, Bob Hope, Ed Sullivan --- on at the time, and dramatic show guestings on ‘Checkmate’, ‘Hong Kong’, ‘Eleventh Hour’, and ‘Adventures in Paradise.’ “

She kept up her nightclub appearances too and having a family was no problem. “I took the kids with me and I kept them on California time to it worked out great. They slept late with me and stayed up late with me. That went on until they started school,” Julie says.

The children, in addition to Stacy and Lisa, are nine-year-old identical twin boys, Jody and Reese, and 10-year-old Kelly (she was named after Kelly’s night club in Chicago). “The twins look like a mixture of Bobby and me, and Kelly looks like nobody else in the family,” Julie says.

Julie was either on her way to a Vegas club date or just getting back, when ex-husband Webb called and asked if she and Bobby would like to be in his “Emergency” TV series. “I said ‘hell yes!’ and he said ‘come to the office and I’ll tell you about it and if you like the idea, we’ll go on with it.” Did that mean it was a friendly divorce? “Time cures everything,” she admits.

 

The Palm Beach Post

Sunday – August 8, 1975

By JEAN LEWIS