Julie London was the smoky-voiced torch singer who insisted she couldn't sing, but whose voice sent shivers down spines. Her album covers alone made men weak in the knees and turned women green with envy.
She was the sultry actress who declared herself no Sarah Bernhardt, but is remembered as head nurse on the 1970s television series "Emergency."
Her first recorded single, "Cry Me a River" in 1956, propelled her into musical history. Relatively unknown as an actress despite a spate of films in the 1940s, London also caught fire on screen the same year as alcoholic singer Carol Larson in Jose Ferrer's "The Great Man."
London recorded more than 30 albums — among them "Julie Is Her Name," "Lonely Girl," "Calendar Girl," "About the Blues," "Make Love to Me," "London by Night" — with that voice connoisseurs described as smoky, husky, breathy, haunting, intimate and even "a voice for a smoke-filled room."
Yet London's mere appearance, with her statuesque figure, had such an effect on men that critics were never certain whether her albums sold so well because of her vocal prowess or her sexy photos on the cover.
"Just as long as they buy the records, I don't care why they buy 'em," she happily told The Times in 1961, later joking: "We spent more time on the covers than the music."
London was born to her roles as actress and singer, yet achieved each in the kind of fluke about which Hollywood loves to make movies.
At 18, London made her official film debut opposite Buster Crabbe in the 1944 "Nabonga," later retitled "Gorilla," a film she preferred to forget. Most notable of her early films was the 1947 "The Red House," starring Edward G. Robinson.
Bobby Troup, her second husband, proved the Svengali for London's singing career, cajoling and encouraging her to go public after he heard her sing beside his piano at a private party. He booked her into Los Angeles' 881 Club for three weeks. She stayed for 10 and went on to become a recording and saloon singing star, appearing frequently on TV variety shows hosted by Dinah Shore, Bob Hope, Steve Allen and Perry Como.
London married Troup on New Year's Eve 1959. Jack Webb rescued them from the road and the nightclub circuit a decade or so later by hiring them for his Mark VII Productions' "Emergency!" London was nurse Dixie McCall to Troup's neurosurgeon Dr. Joe Early during the series' run from 1972 to 1977.
London's last film was "The George Raft Story" in 1961, in which she portrayed Raft's first girlfriend, Sheila Patton. London's last album was 1969's "Easy Does It," which she considered her best.
After "Emergency!" went off the air, London happily retired.