|Birth name||Robert W. Troup, Jr.|
October 18, 1918|
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||February 7, 1999
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Robert W. "Bobby" Troup Jr. (October 18, 1918 – February 7, 1999) was an American actor, jazz pianist, singer and songwriter. He is best known for writing the popular standard "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66", and for his role as Dr. Joe Early, opposite his real-life wife Julie London's character, in the 1970s US TV series, Emergency!
Life and music
Troup was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He graduated from The Hill School, a preparatory school in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, in 1937. He went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics. He was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (ΣΑΕ) fraternity and the Mask and Wig Club.
His earliest musical success came with the song "Daddy", written for a Mask and Wig production, which was a regional hit in 1941. Sammy Kaye and His Orchestra recorded "Daddy", which was number one for 8 weeks on the Billboard Best Seller chart and the number five record of 1941; other artists also recorded it in 1941, including Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, The Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby and Kay Kyser. "Daddy" can be heard in the 1941 film Two Latins from Manhattan. In the same year, Troup's song "Snootie Little Cutie" was recorded by Frank Sinatra and Connie Haines with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the Pied Pipers.
Upon 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, recruit depot for the first Black Marines. By spring of 1943 he became recreation officer, in which capacity he was able to spearhead improvements to the facilities at Montford, including building a recreation hall, basketball court, and outdoor boxing ring. He was even able to get a friend to install a miniature golf course. During this time he composed the song "Take Me Away From Jacksonville" which was to become an anthem of sorts for the Marines at Montford Point, even extending to other areas of Camp Lejeune. By numerous accounts Troup was the most popular officer among the Montford recruits. In October 1944 he was promoted to Captain, given command of a depot company, and eventually deployed to Saipan where he served to the end of the war.
Troup's first marriage was to Cynthia Hare. They were married in May 1942 and had two daughters, Cynnie Troup (b. 1943) and Ronne Troup (b. 1945), both of whom had careers in the entertainment industry.
In 1946, Nat King Cole had a hit with Troup's best known song "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66". It became a popular standard recorded by many artists, including Chuck Berry (1961) and The Rolling Stones (1964). In 1987, Depeche Mode combined the tune with their own composition, "Behind the Wheel", released it as the B-side of "Behind the Wheel" and it became a radio hit on KROQ 106.7 FM in Los Angeles. In 2006, "Route 66" was featured in the animated movie Cars, and the movie RV with Robin Williams.
Troup met his second wife, torch singer Julie London, at the Celebrity Room, where he was singing. It was Troup who encouraged London to pursue her singing career, and in 1955 he produced her million selling hit record "Cry Me a River". London, previously married to actor Jack Webb (1947 to 1953), married Troup in 1959. They remained married until Troup's death in 1999.
Troup also wrote the title song (sung by Little Richard) in the classic 1950s rock and roll movie The Girl Can't Help It. An instrumental rendition of his song "The Meaning of the Blues" appeared on the landmark Miles Davis album, Miles Ahead. Troup's hipster interpretation of the fairy tale "The Three Bears" is often erroneously credited to "anonymous" and re-titled "Three Bears Rap", "Three Bears with a Beat", etc. This song was first recorded by the Page Cavanaugh Trio and later by Western Swing bandleader Leon McAuliffe.
Circa 1969 Troup collaborated with entertainer Tommy Leonetti, penning the lyrics for Leonetti's song "My City of Sydney". Leonetti's original recording was used for many years in the close-down sequence for TV station ATN-7 in Sydney, and was also covered by Sydney punk band XL Capris.
In February 1999, Troup died at UCLA Medical Center of a massive heart attack; he was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. His wife, Julie London died the following year, and her cremated remains were placed in the columbarium (Columbarium of Providence) niche, next to his.
Television and movies
In the mid-1950s, Troup was one of three regular panelists (along with Mel Blanc and Johnny Mercer) in the game show Musical Chairs, a Bill Leyden-hosted quiz program that aired locally on Los Angeles television for two years before NBC broadcast it in the summer of 1955. On the program, the viewing audience was encouraged to submit questions about music in an effort to stump the panel. The Troup Group provided much of the music in the game show. He also served as host of the ABC show Stars of Jazz featuring various jazz luminaries, particularly those working in Hollywood.
While he relied on songwriting royalties, Troup also worked as an actor, playing musician Tommy Dorsey in the film The Gene Krupa Story (1959). He played himself in the short-lived NBC television series Acapulco. Troup 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. He again appeared as a piano player in a cameo on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries in 1978.
In Robert Altman's 1970 film M*A*S*H he had a cameo as a disgruntled staff sergeant assigned to driving Hawkeye and Trapper John around in Japan. (His only two lines of dialogue is a repeated exasperation, "Goddamn army!" and "Goddamn army jeep!") In 1972, Jack Webb, who had previously used Troup in a 1967 episode of the television series Dragnet, cast him opposite Julie London in the US TV series Emergency!. Emergency! was created by Webb, who had recently starred in a revival of Dragnet and was producing NBC's Adam-12. London and Troup had remained on cordial terms with Webb, who had used Troup (and his daughter Ronne) in episodes of Adam-12 as well as the revived Dragnet. On Emergency! Troup played Dr. Joe Early, one of the two emergency room doctors featured on the series, while London played head nurse Dixie McCall.
In 1979 Troup played the part of Sam Gill in The Rebels.
- "Baby, Baby, All the Time" – Frankie Laine, Julie London, Nat King Cole, June Christy, Diana Krall
- "Bran' New Dolly" – written and sung by Bobby Troup on RCA Victor some time between 1947–50
- "Daddy" – 1941, recorded by Sammy Kaye and His Orchestra, The Andrews Sisters, The Charioteers, performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, Julie London
- "Girl Talk", lyrics by Troup, music by Neal Hefti – recorded by Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London, Betty Carter
- "Hungry Man" – Louis Jordan
- "I See Your Bass Before Me"
- "I'd Like You for Christmas" – Julie London
- "It Happened Once Before" – The Four Freshmen
- "Jack 'N Jill"
- "Just the Way I Am" – June Christy, Stan Kenton
- "Lemon Twist" – Stan Kenton, Billy May, John Pizzarelli
- "Let's Keep Dancing" – Peggy Lee
- "My City of Sydney" (Troup/Leonetti) – Tommy Leonetti, XL Capris, Mary Schneider
- "Now You Know" – The Four Freshmen
- "One October Morning"
- "Out of the Shadows" – June Christy
- "Please Belong to Me"
- "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66", 1946 – recorded by the Nat King Cole Trio, Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, Perry Como, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Them, Patti Page, and numerous others
- "Snootie Little Cutie", 1941 – recorded by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra featuring Frank Sinatra, Connie Haines, The Manhattan Transfer
- "The Feeling of Jazz" – words to Duke Ellington's composition
- "The Girl Can't Help It", 1956 – Little Richard
- "The Meaning of the Blues" – Julie London, Miles Davis (1957), Shirley Horn, Irene Kral, Buddy Rich, Michael Brecker
- "The Three Bears", 1946 – Page Cavanaugh Trio, Ray Ellington, Leon McAuliffe
- "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring" – The Four Freshmen, Jimmie Rodgers, The Beach Boys, Sue Raney, The Cyrkle
- "There She Goes"
- "This October" – The Four Freshmen, Julie London
- "You're Looking at Me" – Nat King Cole, Don Fagerquist, Stacey Kent, Diana Krall, Cleo Laine, Carmen McRae
- "Walking Shoes" – words to Gerry Mulligan's composition
- 1955 Bobby Troup, (Bethlehem)
- 1955 Bobby Troup Sings Johnny Mercer, (Bethlehem)
- 1955 The Distinctive Style of Bobby Troup, (Bethlehem)
- 1955 Bobby Troup and His Trio, (Liberty 3002)
- 1955 The Feeling of Jazz, (Star Line)
- 1956 Do Re Mi, (Liberty 3026)
- 1957 Bobby Swings Tenderly, (Mode)
- 1957 Sings Johnny Mercer, (Bethlehem)
- 1957 In a Class Beyond Compare, (Audiophile)
- 1958 Stars of Jazz, (RCA)
- 1958 Here's to My Lady, (Liberty 3078)
- 1958 Bobby Troup and His Jazz All-Stars, (RCA Victor)
- 1959 Cool, (Interlude)
- "Hill School Class of 2013 Recognized at Inaugural Class Day Gala". The Hill School. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Williams, Kenneth H. (2012). "'Route 66' Detour to Jacksonville, NC". Fortitudine 37 (2): 26–32.
- Woods, Bernie (1994). When the Music Stopped: The Big Band Era Remembered. Barricade Books. ISBN 9781569800225.
- "Leading Music Box Record of 1941". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 54 (5): 60. January 31, 1942. ISSN 00062510.
- "Two Latins from Manhattan – Full credits". TCM.com. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- Nalty, Bernard C. "The Right to Fight: African American Marines in World War II". Marine Corps History and Museums Division. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- Shaw, Henry I.; Donnelly, Ralph W. (2002). Blacks in the Marine Corps. Washington, DC: USMC History and Museums Division.
- Buckley, Gail (2001). American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm. New York: Random House. p. 316. ISBN 0-375-50279-3.
- Smith, RJ (January 2001). "Julie London". Los Angeles: 26. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- Irvin, Jim, ed. (2007). The Mojo Collection: the Ultimate Music Companion (4th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 8. ISBN 9781841959733.
- "Actress-Singer Julie London Dies". ABC News. 19 October 2000. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- Heckman, Don (February 9, 1999). "Bobby Troup, Writer of Classic Song 'Route 66', Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- "My city of Sydney". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- "A Pittance of Faith". Mannix. Season 2. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- "Medal for a Hero". Mannix. Season 3. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- "Voodoo Doll: Part 1". The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. Season 2. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
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