July 28, 2003 by

Bob Hope

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Categories: Actors, Hollywood, Military

bhope.jpgLeslie Townes Hope, the comedic actor who entertained millions of soldiers during wartime, died on July 27 of complications from pneumonia. He was 100.
Born in England, Hope and his family emigrated to America in 1907 to settle in Cleveland, Ohio. As a boy, he changed his name to Bob, and took a series of odd jobs to help make ends meet. It was during this time that Hope first worked as a caddy and developed a passion for golf. In later years, Hope would sponsor the Bob Hope Golf Classic, one of the biggest golf tournaments in the U.S.
When he became a teenager, Hope decided to work in show business. He developed a song and dance act laced with comedic monologues, and in the 1920s, played at The Palace during the height of Vaudeville. Hope later landed parts in several Broadway musicals including “Red, Hot and Blue,” starring Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante, and “Roberta,” where he met and married nightclub singer Dolores Reade.
He took his schtick to radio, and was signed by Paramount to appear in his first feature film, “The Big Broadcast of 1938,” where he sang, “Thanks for the Memory,” the song that would become his trademark.
Hollywood beckoned and Hope followed. He teamed up with crooner Bing Crosby for seven “Road” pictures, playing best friends who would do anything to win the attention of Dorothy Lamour. Hope eventually appeared in over 60 films, including “The Lemondrop Kid,” “The Paleface,” and “My Favorite Blonde.”
In the 1950s, Bob started working in television, performing in dozens of comedy shows for NBC. Known as the master of the one-liner, he appeared at the Academy Awards more than 20 times as either a presenter or a host. Although he never won the award for his acting abilities, Hope received several special Oscars for his contributions to entertainment and humanitarianism.
During World War II, Hope began a lifelong career of supporting American troops overseas. His Christmas tours boosted the morale of millions of servicemen and women serving in Germany, France, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf. In response, the Navy christened a support ship the “USNS Bob Hope” and the Air Force renamed one of its cargo planes “The Spirit of Bob Hope.”
Hope wrote 10 books, including the 1990 autobiography, “Don’t Shoot, It’s Only Me.” He received 54 honorary degrees and more than 2,000 awards, including the Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon B. Johnson.
In 1998, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain gave him an honorary knighthood and the Library of Congress created the Bob Hope Gallery of American Entertainment. To celebrate his 100th birthday, the famous intersection of Hollywood Blvd. and Vine St. was renamed Bob Hope Square.
Complete Coverage From The New York Times

One Response to Bob Hope

  1. Keith R. Wood

    Thanks — for the memories. And for the miles, the smiles, and the inspiration. I know that somewhere you’re walking on, swinging a golf club, and saying “Hi! I’m Bob ‘Cloud-10-Because-We’re-Doing-Cloud-9-One Better’ Hope . . .”

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