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Bob Hope was in the forefront of the entertainment industry for virtually his entire life. Primarily a comedian, he also acted, sang, and even danced, hosted his own radio and television shows, and starred in sixty movies. Bob Hope's dedication to and love for the American GI is legendary. He traveled around the world to entertain the men and women in uniform during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Desert Storm. No individual in the history of show business journeyed so far--and so often--to entertain so many. He received more than two thousand awards and citations for his humanitarian and professional efforts, and was honored and befriended by every U.S. president since Franklin Roosevelt. Linda Hope, Bob and Dolores Hope's daughter, is chief operating officer of Hope Enterprises, Inc., and producer of her father's television specials for the last twenty-five years. She lives in North Hollywood, California, and Ireland.
Linda Hope, who assembled this volume, clearly understands her father, Bob, and that his life can best be told through his jokes. To read them is to know how he felt on personal and political issues, and their topical, satiric nature makes them more biographically relevant than old material from most other comedians. Linda opens the book with a brief summary of her dad's life (he will turn 100 next month). Ten sections follow chronologically, from Hope's childhood to the present. Cracking about his birth, "when the doctor slapped me, I thought it was applause," the comedian sets the stage for a self-portrait of a man who adored performing and making people laugh above all else. In his 20s, he spoofed early show business bookings, after which he describes meeting singer and future wife Dolores Reade as "love at first song." From this point, the legend grows increasingly familiar, with references to the Road pictures and Hope's first appearance, in 1939, hosting the Academy Awards. Considering the current political climate, his recurring tours entertaining troops through WWII and the Korean War are of particular interest ("I was offering time and laughs-the men and women fighting the war were offering up their lives"). Another line is a humorously accurate testament to Hope's longevity ("I've been with NBC so long. I was here when the peacock was just an egg"). The quality of the jokes range from gently amusing to side-splitting, mildly sharp but never mean-spirited. After reading them, it's easy to understand Hope saying he'd like to live his life all over again because "it's been a hell of a ride." Photos. (May) Forecast: Given the mainstream media's current rage for supporting war and Hope's history as entertainer to the troops, this book could get lots of coverage from a nostalgic, patriotic angle. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.