He was the nation's most-honored comedian. Bob Hope has died at the age of 100.
His longtime publicist says Hope died last night of pneumonia, while surrounded by his family at home in Toluca Lake, California.
Hope was a star in 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 military bases around the world, boosting the morale of servicemen from World War Two to the first Gulf War.
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.
Public and private remembrances for Bob Hope
Bob Hope is getting both private and public sendoffs.
His daughter says his burial will be private. That ceremony will be followed with a memorial service and tribute on August 27th.
Linda Hope says family members were all around when her father died yesterday. She says she couldn't ask for a more beautiful and peaceful time -- and she says he left with a smile on his face.
Bob Hope died just two months after 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.
Daughter Linda says the private Bob Hope was just like his public persona. She says he'd try out his jokes on his family -- and he said they were a tough audience.
Hope won audiences with his one-liners
Bob Hope perfected the one-liner, peppering audiences with a barrage of brief, topical gags. One example: "I bumped into Gerald Ford the other day. I said, `Pardon me.' He said, `I don't do that anymore."'
The comedian died yesterday in California at the age of 100.
Hope often made himself the butt of many jokes. His golf scores and his distinctive sloping nose were frequent subjects: He said: "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 started a monologue, it was almost as though the world was conditioned to respond. Even if the joke was old or flat -- he was Bob Hope and he got laughs.
He liked to say "audiences are my best friends. You never tire of talking with your best friends."
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?"
Many honors for most-honored comedian
It's easy to see why Bob Hope was considered the most-honored comedian in America.
His awards include scores of honorary degrees and special Oscars for humanitarian causes and service to the film industry.
He also won the George Peabody Award, the National Conference of
Christians and Jews Award, and the Medal of Freedom from President
On his 100th birthday this year, he was too frail to take part in public celebrations -- but was said to be alert and happy.
The fabled intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street was renamed Bob Hope Square, and President Bush established the Bob
Hope American Patriot Award.
The Navy named a 950-foot-long support ship after him, and the Air Force dedicated a cargo plane as "The Spirit of Bob Hope." As his 95th birthday approached, the Library of Congress announced it was creating the Bob Hope Gallery of American Entertainment.
Hope was a fixture in military shows
Bob Hope started playing to the troops well before the United States entered World War Two, and he became a fixture in military shows for decades to come.
Hope 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 in 1941, seven months before Pearl Harbor. He eventually lost count of the number of military shows he gave.
His traditional Christmas tours began in 1948, when he went to Berlin to entertain GIs involved in the airlift. His wife once said it was like every one of the troops was his "kid brother."
His 1966 Vietnam Christmas show, when televised, was watched by
an estimated 65 million people, the largest audience of his career. Hope at first was hawkish on Vietnam -- but later, he said he was praying for peace. He said at the time he'd seen too many wars.
His views opened a gap between the comedian and young Americans
opposed to the war. He was sometimes heckled by young people in his
In 1990, he traveled to the Persian Gulf to entertain troops preparing for war with Iraq. Because Saudi Arabia bans female entertainers, he had to leave Marie Osmond and the Pointer Sisters behind in Bahrain.
Feature films with Bob Hope
Highlights in Bob Hope's life.
including "Roberta," the 1935 "Ziegfeld Follies" and "Red, Hot and Blue."
Linda, Anthony, William Kelly and Honora.
ceremonies. In all, he served as an emcee or co-host 20 times between 1940 and 1978.
eve of the Gulf War; his last Christmas show for troops overseas. He joked: "If anybody tells you I was in the Civil War, I'm denying it."
President Clinton and former presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan
33,000-ton support ship.
President Bush says Hope "lifted our spirits"
President Bush says not only did Bob Hope make America laugh, he was a "great citizen."
The president paid tribute to the entertainer just before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Pittsburgh.
He says Hope -- who died Sunday -- "lifted our spirits."
Bush says the veteran entertainer will especially be remembered by thousands of veterans from different generations who saw his war-time shows.
Bush told reporters: "We extend our prayers to his family. God bless his soul." He also called Hope a "good man."
Previous praise for Bob Hope
During his long life, Bob Hope drew praise from generations of comedians.
America's most-honored comedian died last night at his California home. He was 100.
Talking to reporters in 1993, comedian and talk show host Jay Leno said Hope was the most famous person of his time. Comedian Phyllis Diller once said no one could ever match what Hope did in his career, which she calls "historic."
In a 1998 interview, actor Tom Hanks said Hope's death would be the end of an era. He called Hope "the only true immortal" left.
Actor Tony Randall once said Hope told him never to tell dirty jokes, because it was too easy to get a laugh with off-color humor -- and tougher to follow it up with a funny clean joke.
Last year, director Woody Allen called Hope an "organic" part of the world -- and said he couldn't imagine a world without him.
Hope was king of vaudeville, radio, Broadway, film and television.
Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, England in 1903.
He came to the United States with his family when he was four and settled in Cleveland. He changed his name from Leslie to Bob when classmates ridiculed his English name.
Hope helped his family 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.
Hope boxed under the name Packy East and tried a semester in college before he veered into show business.
By 1930, Hope had reached vaudeville's pinnacle, The Palace. He played leading parts in such Broadway musicals as "Roberta" and "Ziegfeld Follies." He was also working regularly in radio.
Later he teamed with Bing Crosby in seven "Road" pictures, and starred in other movies like "Cat and the Canary" and "My Favorite Blonde." He made 53 films from 1938 to 1972.
In 1950, Hope launched a successful career in television. Even 40 years later, he could be counted on to pull in respectable ratings. He appeared more than 20 times at the Academy Awards, first on radio and then on television.
"Thanks for the Memory" -- Bob Hope's signature song.
"Thanks for the Memory."
That's Bob Hope's signature song -- and it's been associated with him since his first feature film, "The Big Broadcast of 1938."
The lyrics are about faded love -- and it became an instant hit.
In the movie, the song is a duet with an actress who plays one of Hope's ex-wives.
They take a bittersweet look back at their failed marriage -- "Thanks for the memory, of rainy afternoons, swingy Harlem tunes, motor trips and burning lips and burning toast and prunes. How lovely it was."
The song's composer and lyricist won accolades -- and an Oscar.
Bob Hope livened up the Oscars in more than 20 appearances.
Some of the most memorable lines from the Academy Awards have come from the quick wit of Bob Hope.
Hope appeared more than 20 times on the shows as host, co-host or presenter. He liked to joke about his own failure to win an Oscar -- though he won several honorary awards over the years.
In 1953, he said "I like to be here in case one of these years they'll have one left over." In 1968, he greeted the stars with, "Welcome to the Academy Award, or as it's known at my house, Passover."
Hope also liked to tease the stars.
When he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1960, Hope joked that he felt out of place, "like Zsa Zsa Gabor at a PTA meeting."
Praise for Hope
Comedian Dick Van Dyke is comparing Bob Hope with writer Mark Twain.
Hope died last night at the age of 100 at his Los Angeles-area home.
Van Dyke says Hope and Twain both had a sense of humor that was
Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman says Hope was
one-of-a-kind. He says he can't think of anyone who brought more
laughter into people's lives.
Lieberman adds, "thanks for the memories."
Hope's 85-year-old nephew Milton says he hopes his uncle is remembered not just for the jokes -- but also for donating his money and time to charities. Milton Hope says, "all I can say is he sure made a lot of people happy."
Comedians, writers remember Hope's comic gifts
Bob Hope's most devoted admirers say his TV specials had nothing on his movies.
Hope starred in 53 movie comedies over a 34-year period, including the classic "Road" pictures with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.
Woody Allen is a big Bob Hope fan -- and he says Hope was much funnier in the movies than on TV.
Allen says Hope had a brilliant gift of delivery and comic speech. He writes that Hope's one-liners are just like air -- he does them so lightly.
Hal Kanter, who wrote a half-dozen of Hope's movies, remembers the physical side of his comedy.
Kanter says Hope could get tremendous laughs just reacting to things, without saying a word.