Bob Hope dead at 100

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
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#1
http://www.salon.com/ent/wire/2003/07/28/hope/index.html

Bob Hope dead at 100
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By Bob Thomas

July 28, 2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Bob Hope, ski-nosed master of the one-liner and favorite comedian of servicemen and presidents alike, has died, less than two months after turning 100.

Hope died late Sunday of pneumonia, his longtime publicist Ward Grant said Monday. Hope's family was at his bedside at his home in Toluca Lake.

The nation's most-honored comedian, a millionaire many times over, was a star in every category open to him -- vaudeville, radio, television and film, most notably a string of "Road" movies with longtime friend Bing Crosby. For decades, he took his show on the road to bases around the world, boosting the morale of servicemen from World War II to the Gulf War.

He perfected the one-liner, peppering audiences with a fusillade of brief, topical gags.

"I bumped into Gerald Ford the other day. I said, `Pardon me.' He said, `I don't do that anymore.'"

He poked fun gently, without malice, and made himself the butt of many jokes. His golf scores and physical attributes, including his celebrated ski-jump nose, were frequent subjects:

"I want to tell you, I was built like an athlete once -- big chest, hard stomach. Of course, that's all behind me now."

When Hope went into one of his monologues, it was almost as though the world was conditioned to respond. No matter that the joke was old or flat; he was Bob Hope and he got laughs.

"Audiences are my best friends," he liked to say. "You never tire of talking with your best friends."

He was admired by his peers, and generations of younger comedians. Woody Allen called Hope "the most influential comedian for me."

Hope earned a fortune, gave lavishly to charity and was showered with awards, so many that he had to rent a warehouse to store them.

Through he said he was afraid of flying, Hope traveled countless miles to entertain servicemen in field hospitals, jungles and aircraft carriers from France to Berlin to Vietnam to the Persian Gulf. His Christmas tours became tradition.

He headlined in so many war zones that he had a standard joke for the times he was interrupted by gunfire: "I wonder which one of my pictures they saw?"

So often was Hope away entertaining, and so little did he see his wife, Dolores, and their four adopted children, that he once remarked, "When I get home these days, my kids think I've been booked on a personal appearance tour."

Hope had a reputation as an ad-libber, but he kept a stable of writers and had filing cabinets full of jokes. He never let a good joke die - if it got a laugh in Vietnam, it would get a laugh in Saudi Arabia.

On his 100th birthday, he was too frail to take part in public celebrations, but was said to be alert and happy -- and overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection. The fabled intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street was renamed Bob Hope Square, and President Bush established the Bob Hope American Patriot Award.

"He can't believe that this is happening and that he's made it to his Big 100," son Kelly Hope said at the time.

He was born Leslie Townes Hope on May 29, 1903, in Eltham, England, the fifth of seven sons of a British stonemason and a Welsh singer of light opera. The Hopes emigrated to the United States when he was 4 and settled in Cleveland. They found themselves in the backwash of the 1907 depression.

The boy helped out by selling newspapers and working in a shoe store, a drug store and a meat market. He also worked as a caddy and developed a lifelong fondness for golf. A highly competitive golfer, he later shot in the 70s and sponsored the Bob Hope Golf Classic, one of the nation's biggest tournaments.

Hope changed his name to Bob when classmates ridiculed his English schoolboy name.

He boxed for a time under the name Packy East -- "I was on more canvases than Picasso" -- and Hope also tried a semester in college before devoting himself to show business. He quickly veered from song and dance to comedy patter, and his monologue routine was born.

By 1930, he had reached vaudeville's pinnacle -- The Palace -- and in the '30s he played leading parts in such Broadway musicals as "Roberta," "Ziegfeld Follies" and "Red, Hot and Blue," with Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante. During "Roberta," he met nightclub singer Dolores Reade and invited her to the show. They married in 1934.

After a few guest radio spots, Hope began working regularly on a Bromo Seltzer radio program. In 1938, he was hired by Pepsodent to create his own show, and that led him to Hollywood.

Paramount signed him for "The Big Broadcast of 1938," in which he introduced the song that became his trademark: "Thanks for the Memory."

Soon he was teaming with Crosby in the seven "Road" pictures -- "Road to Bali," "Road to Morocco," "Road to Zanzibar" and so on -- playing best friends who lie, cheat and make fun of each other in comedic competition for glory and Dorothy Lamour.

In between, there were such pictures as "Cat and the Canary," "The Paleface," "Louisiana Purchase," "My Favorite Blonde," "That Certain Feeling," "I'll Take Sweden" and "Boy, Did I get a Wrong Number." He made 53 films from 1938 to 1972.

In 1950, he entered television, and his successes continued. Even 40 years later, he could be counted on to pull in respectable ratings. He also appeared more than 20 times at the Academy Awards, first on radio and than on television, as presenter, cohost or host between 1939 and 1978.

During the awards broadcasts, Hope specialized in poking fun at himself for not being nominated. "I like to be here in case one of these years they'll have one left over," he told the audience in 1953. (He did receive several special Oscars.)

Hope started playing to troops well before the United States entered World War II.

He tried to enlist, but was told he could be of more use as an entertainer. He played his first camp show at California's March Field on May 6, 1941, seven months before Pearl Harbor. He eventually lost count of the number of shows he gave.

His traditional Christmas tours began in 1948, when he went to Berlin to entertain GIs involved in the airlift.

:(
 

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Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#2
Bob Hope was one of my all-time favorites and a fine person. I wish more performers would do even 1/100th the work he did for the USO and various charities. May God rest his soul.
 
B

Bob_M

#3
Mike S. said:
Bob Hope was one of my all-time favorites and a fine person. I wish more performers would do even 1/100th the work he did for the USO and various charities. May God rest his soul.
I may not have been a "big" fan but I'd definately 2nd what Mike S said!
 

gpainter

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Our local newspaper did a piece on him about 6-8 months ago. I have several pictures of him when he did a show in Undorn Thailand,back in 1968 ( I believe). My step-dad saw the show and took the pictures when he was serving in Vietnam. A great person has departed. God rest his soul.
 
#5
Bob Hope did a lot to entertain the troops. Now that he is gone, I guess we better not have anymore military conflicts.
 

Joe Cruse

Mopar or No Car
#6
Marc said:
He was admired by his peers, and generations of younger comedians. Woody Allen called Hope "the most influential comedian for me."
Ashame the influence didn't take :bonk:

The USA, myself included, will surely miss you, Mr. Hope.

Joe
 
G

Graeme

#7
I believe it would be appropriate to have at Bob Hope's funeral an honor guard of members of all of the US Armed Forces, as well as representatives of all of our allied forces in every conflict from WW-II to the Persian Gulf war.

Bob Hope set a high standard for quality entertainment, as well as for support of the troops in combat areas. He is missed by millions.

Semper Fidelis, Bob!

Graeme
Former USMC, USAFR
 
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