Julie London, best known to TV audiences as nurse Dixie McCall on the 1970s hospital drama Emergency!, died Wednesday at age 74.
The sultry-voiced actress, who was once married to Dragnet producer-star Jack Webb, was also a singer and had a hit record with the 1950s single “Cry Me a River.”
London, who had been in declining health since suffering a stroke five years ago, died at a hospital in the Los Angeles suburb of Encino, according to her business manager, Meyer Sack.
She was hired on Emergency! by Webb, her then-former spouse, to co-star with her second husband, jazz musician and composer Bobby Troup, who played a doctor on the series.
Vaudeville to Hollywood Born Julie Peck to a song-and-dance duo that performed in vaudeville, she started singing on her parents’ radio show and started working in movies in the 1940s, after changing her name to London.
She appeared in nearly two dozen motion pictures during the 1940s and ’50s, starring in such films as Task Force (1949), The Fat Man (1951), Man of the West (1958), and A Question of Adultery (1959).
She married Webb in 1947, just as her singing career was getting off the ground. “Cry Me a River,” which came out in 1955, sold 3 million copies and remained in demand into the 1960s. Artists from Barbra Streisand to Harry Connick Jr. have covered the song.
She also sang the song in the 1956 Jayne Mansfield film The Girl Can’t Help It. London recorded her last album, Easy Does It, in 1967.
Describing her smoky vocal style, London once said, “It’s only a thimbleful of a voice, and I have to use it close to a microphone. But it is a kind of over-smoked voice, and it automatically sounds intimate.”
London went on to gain renewed fame on the small screen, co-starring on Emergency! during its five-year run on NBC before retiring from show business.
She and Webb divorced in 1953, and London married Troup, composer of the hit “Route 66,” several years later. He died in 1999.
Reuters contributed to this story.