Tribute By Monica Sullivan
Few starlets were as gorgeous as 18-year-old Julie London when she entered the film business in 1944 with "Nabonga." She befriended a gorilla after living through a plane crash in that one. The following year, she paid her dues in musicals for Universal & Fox ("On Stage Everybody" & "Diamond Horseshoe"), but she got a good break in the 1947 film noir, "The Red House." Cast opposite Rory Calhoun at his most breathtaking, London burned up the screen and big things were expected of her. Although she made dozens of movies over the next 3 years and was impressive in all of them, Julie London always looked as if she could take on her career or leave it alone & no harm done either way. The high voltage electricity she was more than capable of projecting she saved for her singing career. Her specialties were torch songs like "Cry Me A River" & she gave the lyrics & the phrasing a smoldering, smoky quality that left audiences in no doubt that this dame had BEEN there AND back.
In one of her best roles, she played the wife of alcoholic Richard Egan in "Voice in the Mirror." In addition to singing the haunting vocal track, London was enormously effective as a woman who would rather see her much-loved husband dead than ever watch him take another drink. It was London's special gift to take tough tender characters, however sketchily drawn, & work her unique magic on them so they emerged fully dimensional & glowingly real. Along with her husband Bobby Troup and Robert Fuller, Kevin Tighe & Randolph Mantooth, she helped to make "Emergency" one of the more durable medical series of the 1970's and she is still remembered fondly by late night fans of the Rod Serling western "Saddle the Wind," co-starring Robert Taylor and John Cassavetes. Look for the come-hither album "Julie Is Her Name" to hear what all the fuss was about. It's vintage Julie London at her most provocative. She helped make a less than fabulous era a lot warmer on long cold nights.
© 2000 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 10/25/00
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