Bobby Troup

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Bobby Troup
Julie London Bobby Troup Emergency 1971.JPG
Troup as Dr. Joe Early on 1970s television show, Emergency! (with wife Julie London, in the role of nurse Dixie McCall)
Robert William Troup Jr.

(1918-10-18)October 18, 1918
DiedFebruary 7, 1999(1999-02-07) (aged 80)
Alma materWharton School
Occupation(s)Musician, actor
Years active1941–1995
Cynthia Hare
(m. 1942; div. 1955)

(m. 1959)
Children5, including Ronne

Robert William Troup Jr. (October 18, 1918 – February 7, 1999) was an American actor, jazz pianist, singer, and songwriter. He wrote the song "Route 66" and acted in the role of Dr. Joe Early with his wife Julie London in the television program Emergency! in the 1970s.[1]

Early life[edit]

Robert William Troup Jr. was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.[2][3] His father Robert William Troup worked for the family business J. H. Troup Music House and founded its Lancaster, Pennsylvania branch store.[4] He graduated from The Hill School, a preparatory school in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, in 1937.[5] He went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics.[6]


Military and music[edit]

His earliest musical success came in 1941 with the song "Daddy"[7] written for a Mask and Wig production.[8] Sammy Kaye and His Orchestra recorded "Daddy", which was number one for eight weeks on the Billboard chart and the number five record of 1941; other musicians who recorded it include Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, Kay Kyser, and The Andrews Sisters.[9] "Daddy" can be heard in the 1941 film Two Latins from Manhattan.[10] The song is also performed by the title character in Tex Avery's cartoon short Red Hot Riding Hood (1943).[11]

After graduating from college in 1941, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps but did not receive orders until January 1942. After completing officer training, he was assigned as one of two dozen white officers to direct recruit training at Montford Point, the recruit depot for the first black Marines.[12] In 1943 he became recreation officer and helped build a recreation hall, basketball court, and outdoor boxing ring. A friend installed a miniature golf course.[6] At Montford Point, he also organized the first African-American band of U.S. Marines.[13] During this time he composed "Take Me Away from Jacksonville", which was to become an anthem of sorts for the Marines at Montford Point and other areas of Camp Lejeune.[14]

In February 1942, Troup's song "Snootie Little Cutie" was recorded by Frank Sinatra and Connie Haines with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the Pied Pipers.[15]

In 1946, Nat King Cole had a hit with Troup's most popular song, "Route 66".[1] The song was also recorded by Chuck Berry (1961), The Rolling Stones (1964) and Depeche Mode (1987). Troup's hipster interpretation of the fairy tale "The Three Bears" was first recorded by the Page Cavanaugh Trio[16] in 1946 and later by Leon McAuliffe,[17] and Ray Ellington.[18]

Troup's recordings in the 1950s and 1960s were not commercially successful. He recorded for Liberty and Capitol. He wrote the title song (sung by Little Richard) for the 1950s rock and roll film The Girl Can't Help It.[1] An instrumental version of his song "The Meaning of the Blues" appeared on the Miles Davis album Miles Ahead.

Around 1969, Troup collaborated with entertainer Tommy Leonetti, writing the lyrics for Leonetti's song "My City of Sydney".[19]

Television and films[edit]

While he relied on songwriting royalties, Troup worked as an actor, appearing in Bop Girl Goes Calypso (1957), The High Cost of Loving (1958), The Five Pennies (1959), and playing musician Tommy Dorsey in the film The Gene Krupa Story (1959).[1] He appeared as himself in the short-lived NBC television series Acapulco. He made three guest appearances on Perry Mason, and on two appearances, "The Case of the Jaded Joker" in 1959 and "The Case of the Missing Melody" in 1961, he showed his musical talents. In 1969 and 1970, he appeared as "Bobby" in two episodes of Mannix, where he was a lounge piano player who helped Mannix unravel cases.[20][21] Troup tried his luck at bowling on two episodes of Celebrity Bowling (1973-1975). He again appeared as a piano player in a cameo on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries in 1978.[22]

His later films included First to Fight (1967) and Number One (1969) with Charlton Heston.

He appeared as disgruntled staff sergeant Gorman in Robert Altman's 1970 film M*A*S*H. He is the last actor named by the camp PA announcer in the end credits, and he has the last line of the film: “God-damned Army!”

In 1972, Jack Webb, who had hired Troup for a 1967 episode of the television series Dragnet, cast him as Dr. Joe Early in the television series Emergency! with Julie London as nurse Dixie McCall.[1] Both Troup and London guest starred as "Emergency" personnel on an episode of Adam-12. In 1979, Troup played the part of Sam Gill in the TV miniseries The Rebels.

Personal life[edit]

Troup married Cynthia Hare in May 1942.[6] They had two daughters, Cynnie Troup (born 1943) and Ronne Troup (born 1945); both had careers in entertainment. The marriage ended in divorce in 1955.[23] He met singer Julie London at the Celebrity Room where he was singing.[24] He encouraged her to pursue her singing career, and in 1955 he produced her million-selling hit record "Cry Me a River".[25] London, previously married to actor Jack Webb (1947 to 1953),[26] married Troup in 1959.[27] They had one daughter, Kelly Troup (died 2002), and twin sons, Jody (died 2010) and Reese Troup.

On February 7, 1999, Troup died of a heart attack in the Los Angeles suburb of Sherman Oaks.[27]


  • Bobby Troup! (Capitol, 1953)
  • Bobby Troup and His Trio (Liberty, 1955)
  • The Songs of Bobby Troup (Bethlehem, 1955)
  • Bobby Troup Sings Johnny Mercer (Bethlehem, 1955)
  • The Distinctive Style of Bobby Troup (Bethlehem, 1955)
  • Bobby Swings Tenderly (Mode, 1957)
  • Do Re Mi (Liberty, 1957)
  • Here's to My Lady (Liberty, 1958)
  • Cool Bobby Troup (Interlude, 1959)
  • Bobby Troup and His Stars of Jazz (RCA Victor, 1959)
  • Two Part Inventions for Trumpet with Benny Golson (Twig, 1970)
  • In a Class Beyond Compare (Audiophile, 1981)
  • Kicks On Route 66 (Hindsight, 1995)
  • Makin' Whoopee But Oh So Tenderly (Vintage Jazz)
  • The Feeling of Jazz (Starline, 1994)

Selected compositions[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Larkin, Colin, ed. (May 27, 2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Fifth ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 1920. ISBN 978-0-8571-2595-8. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  2. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Bobby Troup Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  3. ^ "Bobby Troup". Oxford Reference. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  4. ^ Klein, H.M.J., ed. (1924). Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: A History. Vol. 3. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 207 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Hill School Class of 2013 Recognized at Inaugural Class Day Gala". The Hill School. Archived from the original on December 8, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Williams, Kenneth H. (2012). "'Route 66' Detour to Jacksonville, NC". Fortitudine. 37 (2): 26–32.
  7. ^ Yanow, Scott (2008). The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide. Backbeat. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-87930-825-4.
  8. ^ Woods, Bernie (1994). When the Music Stopped: The Big Band Era Remembered. Barricade Books. ISBN 978-1-5698-0022-5.
  9. ^ "Leading Music Box Record of 1941". Billboard. Vol. 54, no. 5. January 31, 1942. p. 60. ISSN 0006-2510.
  10. ^ "Two Latins from Manhattan – Full credits". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  11. ^ "Wild Realm Reviews: Eighth Clutch of Soundies". Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  12. ^ Nalty, Bernard C. "The Right to Fight: African American Marines in World War II". Marine Corps History and Museums Division. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  13. ^ Albright, Alex (2013). The Forgotten First: B-1 and the Integration of the U.S. Navy. Fountain, NC: R.A. Fountain. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-9842-1022-0.
  14. ^ Shaw, Henry I.; Donnelly, Ralph W. (1976). Blacks in the Marine Corps. Washington, DC: USMC History and Museums Division. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-0-1605-1124-0.
  15. ^ "Victor matrix PBS-072107. Snooty little cutie/ Connie Haines; The Pied Pipers; Frank Sinatra; Tommy Dorsey Orchestra". Discography of American Historical Recordings; UCSB Library. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  16. ^ "Page Cavanaugh, leader of Jazz Trio, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 25, 1988.
  17. ^ "Leon McAuliffe". Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  18. ^ "Ray Ellington: The Three Bears". AllMusic. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  19. ^ "My city of Sydney". National Library of Australia. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  20. ^ "A Pittance of Faith". Mannix. Season 2. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  21. ^ "Medal for a Hero". Mannix. Season 3. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  22. ^ "Voodoo Doll: Part 1". The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. Season 2. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  23. ^ Greene, Jo-Ann. "From Hometown to Hollywood". LNP. Lancaster, Penn. Retrieved October 23, 2015. The local boy and the Main Line deb, married from 1942 to 1955, remained close after their divorce...
  24. ^ Smith, RJ (January 2001). "Julie London". Los Angeles. p. 26. ISSN 1522-9149. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  25. ^ Irvin, Jim, ed. (2007). The Mojo Collection: the Ultimate Music Companion (4th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-8419-5973-3.
  26. ^ "Actress-Singer Julie London Dies". ABC News. October 19, 2000. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  27. ^ a b Heckman, Don (February 9, 1999). "Bobby Troup, Writer of Classic Song 'Route 66', Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 10, 2020.

External links[edit]