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Posted: 5/28/2003 7:28:32 PM EDT
A true American Icon if there ever was one. [url]http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/entertainment.cfm?id=599092003[/url] One hundred years old - and Bob Hope is still cracking jokes CLAIRE SMITH csmith@scotsman.com THE veteran comedian and entertainer Bob Hope will celebrate his 100th birthday today, in a manner befitting Hollywood royalty. A fleet of planes from the Second World War staged a Hollywood flypast, 35 states declared it Bob Hope Day and the street where the star has lived since 1937 was renamed Bob Hope Way. Although deaf and dim of sight, the comedian knocked out a one liner to mark the occasion, telling his family: "I’m so old, they’ve cancelled my blood type." Hope, while physically weak, has not lost his knack for witty repartee. In 1998, when an internet blunder led to widespread reports of his death he quipped: "Does this mean I have to go on?" The comedian, who starred in the hugely popular On the Road movies with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, will celebrate the day quietly with family at his Hollywood home. His wife Dolores, to whom he has been married for 69 years, joked: "Yes, there will be a birthday cake with 100 candles, with a fireman standing by with a fire extinguisher." The star has already received letters of congratulation from the Queen and US President George Bush and been proclaimed Citizen of the Century by Hollywood’s Chamber of Commerce. Special tributes will be held across the US for Hope, who spent more than 75 years in radio, theatre, television and film and has befriended 11 US presidents. A major intersection in the heart of Hollywood is to be renamed Bob Hope Square at a ceremony with US planes from the Second World War flying overhead. Several US television networks and the BBC are screening retrospectives. Hope has been honoured by the US military whose troops he entertained during the Second World War, and the Korean, Vietnam and 1991 Gulf wars. Hope’s standing in the golfing world is such that a tournament was named after him, "Golf is my real profession," he once quipped. "Showbusiness pays my green fees." Born in Eltham, in south-east London, as Leslie Townes Hope, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, with his family when he was four. "I left England when I found out that I couldn’t be king," he later joked. Leaving school at 12, Hope became a newspaper seller, poolroom gambler, shoe-shine boy and amateur boxer before he discovered his talent for entertaining. He teamed up with Siamese twins who had a tap dance act and delighted in telling people that they were placed third on the bill beneath a performing seal. Despite his old age and failing health, he has continued to work and recently wrote a new book with the help of his daughter Linda, called Bob Hope: My Life In Jokes. Although he has not appeared in public since he opened the Bob Hope Gallery of American Entertainment in Washington DC in 2000, the comedian is still a hugely popular figure, and more than 2,000 birthday cards have been delivered to his home. He was still doing 75 shows a year until the age of 91, and is rumoured to be one of the richest entertainers with a fortune of $1 billion. Linda Hope said earlier this year that Hope now spends much of his time at either his Toluca Lake or Palm Springs home, watching television and listening to music, particularly recordings by the late Crosby - his partner in many films of the 1940s and 1950s. "We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, admiration and best wishes given Dad by the American public," she said.
Link Posted: 5/29/2003 4:47:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/29/2003 4:48:16 AM EDT by Brohawk]
I have his book "Don't Shoot, It's Only Me" that tells of how he got started doing USO tours for the troops in WWII and follows the adventures of the "Hope Gypsies" through the next several wars. As I read it I could hear him delivering the one-liners. A great American.
Link Posted: 5/29/2003 5:50:32 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/29/2003 6:27:48 AM EDT
I saw Bob's show for the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa in 1971. Thank You Sir !!
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