Julie London told Life Magazine in 1957 that she had "only a thimbleful of a voice, and I have to use it close to the microphone. But it is a kind of over-smoked voice, and it automatically sounds intimate." Her vocal style has been described as being sultry, sexy, "come-hither", intimate, breathy, warm, smoky, haunting, husky, sullen, sad, suggestive and seductive.
The majority of her album covers were graced by sultry, yet sophisticated pictures of Julie - the cover of her first album, Julie is Her Name, being, at the time, thought of as so sexy that it was described as "...generating enough voltage to light up a theater marquee". The album Calendar Girl is graced with 12 "cheesecake" photos of Miss London - one for each month of the year, with an additional large photo for the "thirteenth" month on the inside of the foldout cover.
Julie London was born Julie Peck on September 26, 1926 in Santa Rosa, California, to Jack and Josephine Peck, a song and dance team in vaudeville and radio. In 1929, the family moved to San Bernardino, where Julie's parents had a radio show, on which she occasionally appeared. In 1941, they moved to Los Angeles, where Julie left school and went to work as an elevator operator in a department store. She began singing during this time with the Matty Malnech Orchestra. In Los Angeles, she met Jack Webb, then in the Marine Corps, and Sue Carol, an actor/agent and wife of Alan Ladd. Carol obtained a screen test for Julie, which started her on a movie career. Julie's roles during the first few years were bit parts. She soon reached star status by playing leading roles in such movies as A Question of Adultery, Task Force, and The Fat Man.
In 1947 she married Webb, who was just breaking into dramatic acting on radio. With marriage, she temporarily gave up her movie career to become a full-time wife and mother, and they had two daughters, Stacy and Lisa. Jack Webb was also a jazz fan and cornet player. He was best known for his role as Seargeant Friday in Dragnet on both radio and television, also began Mark VII Productions, producing, writing and directing many television programs.
In November, 1953, London and Webb divorced. With the breakup of her marriage, Julie entered a brief period during which, she said, she had a lack of self confidence. In 1954 this changed when she met Bobby Troup, a jazz musician and songwriter, best known for his hit by Nat “King” Cole, “Route 66”. Under his guidance she began a serious singing career in 1955. Her first singing engagement was the 881 Club in Los Angeles. In 1955 she cut her first album, Julie is Her Name. Included on this LP was her most successful hit: Cry Me a River. Over three million copies of the album and single were sold. The single remained on Billboard charts for 13 weeks, and the LP for 20. Julie was voted one of the top female vocalists of 1955, 1956, and 1957. On New Year's Eve, 1959, she and Bobby Troup married.