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Bob Hope ( born Leslie Townes Hope May 29, 1903 – died July 27, 2003) guest appeared as himself in Season 4 episode 17 of The Golden Girls titled "You Gotta Have Hope". An enormously popular comedian and actor whose active career spanned over six decades, from vaudeville, Broadway musicals and radio to television and movies, Hope's trademarks were his machine gun delivery of jokes, his theme song "Thanks for the Memory," and his distinctive profile.

Over a career spanning 60 years (1934 to 1994), Hope appeared in over 70 films and shorts, including a series of "Road" movies co-starring Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. In addition to hosting the Academy Awards fourteen times, he appeared in many stage productions and television roles, and was the author of fourteen books. He participated in the sports of golf and boxing, and owned a small stake in his hometown baseball team, the Cleveland Indians. He was married to his wife, fellow performer Dolores Hope (née DeFina), for 69 years.

Early years Edit[]

Born in the Eltham section of London, UK, the fifth of seven sons. Bob's English father, William Henry Hope, was a stonemason from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and his Welsh mother, Avis Townes, was a operetta singer from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan who later worked as a cleaning woman. She married William Hope in April 1891 and the couple lived at 12 Greenwood Street in the town, then moved to Whitehall and St George in Bristol. In 1908 the family emigrated to the United States aboard the SS Philadelphia, and passed inspection at Ellis Island in New York City on March 30, 1908, before moving to and settling in Cleveland, Ohio.

From the age of 12, Hope earned pocket money by busking (frequently on the streetcar to Luna Park), singing, dancing, and performing comedy patter.Template:Sfn He entered many dancing and amateur talent contests (as Lester Hope), and won a prize in 1915 for his impersonation of Charlie Chaplin. For a time Hope attended the Boys Industrial School in Lancaster, Ohio. As an adult, Hope donated sizable sums of money to the institution.

Young Hope worked as a butcher's assistant and a lineman in his teens and early twenties. Deciding to try a show business career, he and his girlfriend, Millie Rosequist, signed up for dance lessons. Encouraged after they performed in a three-day engagement at a club, Hope then formed a partnership with Lloyd Durbin, a fellow pupil from the dance school.

Silent film comedian Fatty Arbuckle saw them perform in 1925 and obtained them steady work with a touring troupe called Hurley's Jolly Follies. Within a year, Hope had formed an act called the Dancemedians with George Byrne and the Hilton Sisters, conjoined twins who performed a tap dancing routine in the vaudeville circuit. Hope and Byrne had an act as a pair of Siamese twins as well, and danced and sang while wearing blackface, before friends advised Hope that he was funnier as himself.

In 1929, he changed his first name to "Bob". In one version of the story, he named himself after racecar driver Bob Burman. In another, he said he chose Bob because he wanted a name with a friendly "Hiya, fellas!" sound to it. After five years on the vaudeville circuit, Hope was surprised and humbled when he failed a 1930 screen test for the French film production company Pathé at Culver City, California.

Hope moved to Hollywood when Paramount Pictures signed him for the 1938 film The Big Broadcast of 1938, also starring W. C. Fields. The song "Thanks for the Memory", which later became his trademark, was introduced in this film as a duet with Shirley Ross as accompanied by Shep Fields and his orchestra. The sentimental, fluid nature of the music allowed Hope's writers (he depended heavily upon joke writers throughout his career to later create variations of the song to fit specific circumstances, such as bidding farewell to troops while on tour.

Work with Bing Crosby and others[]

As a movie star, he was best known for comedies like My Favorite Brunette and the highly successful "Road" movies in which he starred with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. The series consists of seven films made between 1940 and 1962. Hope had seen Lamour as a nightclub singer in New York, and invited her to work on his United Service Organizations (USO) tours. Lamour sometimes arrived for filming prepared with her lines, only to be baffled by completely re-written scripts or ad-lib dialogue between Hope and Crosby.. Hope and Lamour were lifelong friends, and she remains the actress most associated with his film career. Hope made movies with many other leading women, including the likes of such as Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Rosemary Clooney, Jane Russell and Elke Sommer.

Hope teamed with Crosby for the "Road" pictures and countless stage, radio, and television appearances over the decades, from their first meeting in 1932 until Crosby's death in 1977. The two invested together in oil leases and other business ventures, but did not see each other socially.

[[File:Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in Road to Bali.jpg|thumb|upright|left|Bob Hope and Bing Crosby sing and dance during "Chicago Style" in Road to Bali (1952) After the release of Road to Singapore (1940), Hope's screen career took off, and he had a long and successful career in the movies. After an 11-year hiatus, Hope and Crosby teamed up for the last Road movie, The Road to Hong Kong (1962), starring 28-year old Joan Collins in place of Lamour, who Hope and Crosby thought was too old for the part. They had planned one more movie together in 1977, The Road to the Fountain of Youth. Filming was postponed when Crosby was injured in a fall, and the production was cancelled when he suddenly died of heart failure that October.

In all, Bob starred in 54 theatrical features between 1938 and 1972, as well as cameos and short films. Most of Hope's later movies failed to match the success of his 1940s efforts. He was disappointed with his appearance in Cancel My Reservation (1972), his last film, and the movie was poorly received by critics and filmgoers.

Later Years[]

Hope slowed down in his later years, as his longevity netted increasing tributes from the media. Miss Piggy yet again paid her respects in the British special Bob Hope's Happy Birthday Homecoming, which aired on May 28, 1985.  Hope was also inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987, along with Jim Henson, and continued to appear in annual specials through 1996, though health and age limited his own role to brief seated appearances.

Hope made his final film appearance in John Landis' 1985 film Spies Like Us, in a cameo as himself (along with Frank Oz). In 1989, Hope appeared in "Miss Piggy's Hollywood," part of an episode in the series The Jim Henson Hour. Both the latter cameos played on Hope's propensity for golfing, a habit which inspired the PGA Tour to name the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in his honor.

Bob was also known for his many USO tours to entertain US troops during every military conflict from World War II through the Persian Gulf War; this facet was spoofed on Dinosaurs in 1992, with the character Bob Hack.


Hope died on July 27, 2003, two months after his 100th birthday. Along with George Burns, Irving Berlin, and Señor Wences, he was one of the few centenarians in the entertainment business.