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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other uses, see Bob Hope (disambiguation).
Leslie Townes Hope, KBE (May 29, 1903 √ July 27, 2003), otherwise known as Bob Hope, was a famous American entertainer who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, on radio and television, in movies and in U.S. Army concerts.
Hope was born in Eltham, London, England, the fifth of seven sons. His English father, William Henry Hope, was a stonemason from Weston-super-Mare and his Welsh mother, Avis Townes, was a light opera singer. The family lived in Weston-super-Mare, then Whitehall and St. George in Bristol before moving to Cleveland, Ohio in 1907. Aged five, Hope became a United States citizen in 1908.
According to biographer Arthur Marx, son of Hope's long-time friend and rival Groucho Marx, Hope's first wife was his vaudeville partner Grace Louise Troxell, whom he married on January 25, 1933. When the marriage record was unearthed some years later, Hope denied that the marriage had any substance and said they had quickly divorced. Rumors claim, however, that he fathered a daughter with Troxell and that he continued to send generous checks to her despite a reputation for frugality.
Hope married his second wife, Dolores DeFina, on or about February 19, 1934. A devoutly Roman Catholic Bronx-born nightclub singer of Irish and Italian extraction, she was known professionally as Dolores Reade and had met Hope two months earlier at The Vogue, a Manhattan nightclub where she was performing. DeFina and Hope remained together until Hope's death sixty-nine years later √ the longest marriage in Hollywood history to date. They adopted four children, all from the same orphanage in Evanston, Illinois.
Thanks for the Memory
Before starting his showbusiness career, Hope boxed professionally under the name Packy Easte. His fame began with several Broadway musicals including Roberta, Say When, the 1936 Ziegfeld Follies and, with Ethel Merman, Red, Hot and Blue. Then, in the 1938 film The Big Broadcast of 1938, Hope introduced (in duet with Shirley Ross) the song that became his trademark, Thanks for the Memory. The sentimental nature of the music allowed Hope and his writers to come up with endless variations of the song to fit specific circumstances, such as saying farewell to troops whilst on tour.
Hope made big money performing live; during an eight-week tour in 1940, for instance, he was reported as generating a then-record $100,000 in receipts.
Hope's film career
In the 1930s Hope starred in several one-reel comedies for Warner Brothers, after which his movie career accelerated quickly. As a movie star he was best known for My Favorite Brunette and the "Road To" movies where he starred alongside Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.
He never won any Oscars for his films, though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, otherwise honored him five times, with two honorary Oscars, two Special Awards and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. As host of the Academy Awards ceremony √ a role he filled numerous times from the 1950s to the 1980s √ he once quipped that Oscar time was, "as it's known at my house, Passover time."
On May 6, 1941, at March Field, California, Hope performed his first United Service Organizations (USO) show. He continued to travel and entertain troops for the rest of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and didn't retire until after the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War. As a sign of support, he was almost always seen in Army fatigues, just like his audience.
His USO career spanned sixty years, during which he headlined approximately sixty tours. In 1997 As an act of Congress Hope was Announced as an "Honorary Veteran" signed by President Clinton. He stated "I've been given many awards in my lifetime — but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most — is the greatest honor I have ever received."
Hope for sport
Hope was also renowned for his passion for sports. He boxed professionally, was a pool hustler, watched football and even owned part of the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Rams. Hope is probably most remembered, however, for his passion for golf. He played in a few PGA tour events and the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic is named in his honor. He played golf with nearly every President of the United States from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush and, as seen in the photo opposite, often used a golf club as an on-stage prop.
Hope on the air
Hope's career in broadcasting spanned sixty-four years and included A long association with the NBC. He first appeared on television in 1932, back when the tube was in the experimental stages, but it wasn't on the Peacock network--he appeared on a test transmission for CBS. By the time Hope made his radio debut in 1937, NBC was mainly just a radio network. Hope's first regular series for NBC Radio was the "Woodbury Soap Hour".
One year later, he had the first show to bear his name, and then sponsored by Pepsodent toothpaste. Modern viewers remember Hope best for the many specials he did for the NBC television network in the decades that followed, some of which were sponsored by Texaco. Hope's Christmas specials were always fan favorites. A signature portion of his yuletide specials was his performance of "Silver Bells" (from his 1951 film The Lemon Drop Kid), usually done as a duet with a featured female guest star (through the years done with such stars as Olivia Newton-John and Brooke Shields). His final television special was in 1996, with guest Tony Danza helping Hope to salute the Presidents of the United States.
Hope lived so long that he suffered the rare indignity of receiving premature obituaries on two separate occasions. In 1998 his death was erroneously reported by Associated Press and then announced in the US House of Representatives. In 2003 he was among several famous figures who had pre-written obituaries published on CNN's web site due to a lapse in password protection.
Hope celebrated his 100th birthday on May 29, 2003, and might rival Irving Berlin or George Burns as the most notable entertainment centenarian. In honor of Hope on his birthday, the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Los Angeles, California was christened Bob Hope Square. His centennial was declared Bob Hope Day in 35 U.S. states. Hope celebrated his birthday privately in his Toluca Lake home where he had lived since 1937.
Even at 100 years of age, Hope maintained his sense of humor, quipping "I'm so old, they've canceled my blood type." And according to one of Hope's daughters, when asked on his deathbed where he wanted to be buried, he told his wife, "Surprise me." He died two months later of pneumonia at 9:28 PM July 27, 2003 at his home in Toluca Lake, north of Hollywood.
Bob Hope is interred in San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
It was confirmed by Roger Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles that Bob Hope had converted to Roman Catholicism some years before he died, and that he had died a Catholic in good standing. It is certain that his devout wife, Dolores, helped him to make that decision.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC has a wing dedicated to a miracle in Hope, France. It was funded by Dolores and Bob Hope in memory of Bob's mother. 
On June 8, 1962, Bob Hope received the Congressional Gold Medal.
In 1965 the PGA renamed an existing tournament the Bob Hope Desert Classic in recognition of the comedian's lifelong passion for the game.
On January 20, 1969, Lyndon B. Johnson awarded Bob Hope with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
On May 29, 2003, Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood, California was named "Bob Hope Square" to commemorate Hope's 100th birthday.
On 3 November 2003 the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority voted unanimously to rename that airport to "Bob Hope Airport." Hope had joked with his family that he wanted an airport named for him after hearing in 1979 that Orange County officials renamed their airport after Hope's friend John Wayne. On 18 November 2003 the Glendale, California, and Burbank, California, city councils voted unanimously to approve the change, and Pasadena, California, followed on 10 December. The process of changing the name began immediately, though the FAA-given, three-letter designation, "BUR," most likely will not change. The rededication ceremony took place on 17 December, the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first powered flight.
USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR-300), one of the few naval vessels to be named for a living person, was named in his honor.
The United States Air Force named a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft The Spirit of Bob Hope in 1997 in Hope's honor. 
Asteroid 2829 Bobhope is named after Bob Hope.
Bob Hope has four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: the motion picture star on 6541 Hollywood Blvd., the radio star on 6141 Hollywood Blvd., the TV star on 6758 Hollywood Blvd. and the live theatre special plaque on 7021 Hollywood Blvd.
Hope was honored with a knighthood from the Knights of Malta and the Order of St. Sylvester from the Vatican.
Bob Hope has had several buildings in the U.S. named after him. In 2004, Stockton, California's renovated Fox Theatre movie palace was renamed the "Bob Hope Theatre".
In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was voted amongst the top 50 comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.
In the 1950s he was named honorary mayor of Palm Springs, California.
In 1974, Hope was named to the Board of Governors of the National Space Institute, forerunner of the present-day National Space Society, a nonprofit, educational space advocacy organization founded by Dr. Wernher von Braun.
In 1997, Hope was honored by the United States Congress with the title "Honorary Veteran of the United States Armed Forces" during an October 29 tribute. It was given him in recognition of the entertainment he provided US troops during war and peacekeeping missions.
In 1998, Hope was created an honorary knight in the Order of the British Empire "in recognition of his contributions to film, to song, and to the entertainment of troops in the past." (citation)
1934: Going Spanish; Paree, Paree
1935: The Old Grey Mayor; Double Exposure; Calling All Tars; Soup for Nuts; Watch the Birdie
1936: Shop Talk
1938: Don't Hook Now
1940: Screen Snapshots Series 19, No. 6
Films 1938 to 1959
1938: The Big Broadcast of 1938; College Swing; Give Me a Sailor; Thanks for the Memory
1939: Never Say Die; Rhythm Romance; The Cat and the Canary
1940: Road to Singapore; The Ghost Breakers
1941: Road to Zanzibar; Caught in the Draft; Nothing But The Truth; Louisiana Purchase
1942: My Favorite Blonde; Hedda Hopper's Hollywood No. 4 (short); Road to Morocco; Star Spangled Rhythm
1943: Strictly G.I. (short); Combat America (documentary); They Got Me Covered; Show Business at War (short); Let's Face It
1944: The Princess and the Pirate
1945: The All-Star Bond Rally (short); Story of G.I. Joe (voice-over); Hollywood Victory Caravan (short)
1946: Road to Utopia; Monsieur Beaucaire
1947: My Favorite Brunette; Variety Girl; March of Time, Volume 14, No. 1: Is Everybody Listening? (documentary); Where There's Life; Road to Rio
1948: The Paleface; Sorrowful Jones]; The Great Lover
1950: Screen Actors (short); Fancy Pants; Cassino to Korea (documentary)
1951: You Can Change the World (short); The Lemon Drop Kid; My Favorite Spy
1952: The Greatest Show on Earth (cameo); Son of Paleface; Screen Snapshots: Memorial to Al Jolson (short); Road to Bali
1953: Off Limits; Scared Stiff (cameo); Here Come the Girls
1954: Casanova's Big Night; Screen Snapshots: Hollywood's Invisible Man (short)
1955: Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Beauty (short); The Seven Little Foys
1956: Showdown at Ulcer Gulch (short); That Certain Feeling; The Iron Petticoat
1957: The Heart of Show Business (short; narrator); Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Star Night (short); Beau James
1959: Alias Jesse James; The Five Pennies (cameo)
The Facts of Life; Bachelor in Paradise; The Road to Hong Kong; Critic's Choice; Call Me Bwana; A Global Affair; I'll Take Sweden; The Oscar; Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!; Not with My Wife, You Don't! (cameo); Eight on the Lam; Rowan & Martin at the Movies (short); The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell; How to Commit Marriage
1970s to 1990s
Cancel My Reservation; The Muppet Movie (cameo); Spies Like Us (cameo); A Century of Cinema (documentary); Radio Star: The AFN Story (documentary); Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's (documentary)
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