On May 29, 1903, a legendary comedian was born in Eltham, England. His name was Bob Hope. He had performed in many shows and entertained the world with laughter. When he was four, Hope’s family emigrated to the U.S. and settled in Cleveland. He jokes, “I left England at the age of four when I found out I couldn’t be king.”
In the 1920's, he became a vaudeville star and made a stage debut in 1927, in a play called Sidewalks of New York.
“I grew up with six brothers. That's how I learned to dance--waiting for the bathroom,” he said. In the 1930’s, he appeared on radio and Broadway productions such as Red, Hot, and Blue and Ziegfeld Follies. In the same decade, he married singer Dolores Reade and adopted four children. In 1934, his first radio show premiered, beginning a record 62-year affiliation with NBC.
In 1938, his feature film debut was The Big Broadcast of 1938 in which he and Shirley Ross sing “Thanks for the Memory.” He was so famous that in February 23, 1939, he made a first Oscar appearance, presenting the awards for best short films. He was so tremendous, he served as an emcee and a co-host for 20 years.
On May 6, 1941, Hope played his first camp show for servicemen at March Field in California. He also had his first Christmas tour for servicemen taking part in the Berlin airlift. In 1950, he also had his first television specials. In 1969, he received the Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson for his wonderful work. When he was eighty-seven, he went to the Persian Gulf to entertain troops on the eve of the Gulf War. It was his last Christmas show for troops overseas. He joked, “If anybody tells you I was in the Civil War, I’m denying it.”
In November 1996, NBC aired his last special, “Laughing with the Presidents.” He was so legendary that in May 2000, the Library of Congress opened the Bob Hope Gallery of American Entertainment. He was one of the luckiest people to have his 100th birthday on May 23, 2003. Over a month later, Hope died of pneumonia.
Bob Hope had a rare talent enabling him to bring about laughter wherever he went. He entertained audiences all over the world and made a lasting impression on everyone, especially me. These reasons and more make me admire the famous comedian, Bob Hope. I’ll never forget his uplifting spirit. He once said, ”I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.”