Bob (and Delores) Hope and Adoption



1903 – 2003


Leslie Townes Hope (May 29, 1903 - July 27, 2003), best known as Bob Hope, was a famous entertainer, having appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, on radio and television, movies and in army concerts. Hope was born in Eltham, London, as 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, Whitehall and St. George in Bristol before moving to Cleveland, Ohio in 1907. He became a United States citizen in 1908.

Hope became famous with several Broadway musicals including Roberta, Say When, the 1936 Ziegfeld Follies and Red, Hot and Blue. Before becoming an comedian, Hope boxed professionally under the boxing nickname of Packy East.

According to biographer Arthur Marx, Hope married his first wife, Grace Louise Troxell, his vaudeville partner since 1928, on January 25, 1933; they were quickly divorced. He married his second wife, reportedly on February 19, 1934, Dolores DeFina, a Bronx-born nightclub singer professionally known as Dolores Reade. They had met two months previously, at The Vogue, a Manhattan nightclub where Reade was performing. Dolores and Bob Hope had four children - all adopted from the same Evanston, Ill., orphanage - and remained together until his death.

In his 1938 film The Big Broadcast of 1938, he introduced the song that became his trademark: Thanks for the Memories

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.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Bob Hope". Credits: Wikipedia