On this day in 2003, Bob Hope turned 100 years old. Dubbed “Mr. Entertainment” and the “King of Comedy,” Hope died less than two months after his 100th birthday celebration. Here are 6 things you probably didn't know about Bob Hope…
Hope Had 35 Official State Birthday Honors In honor of Hope's 100th birthday, 35 states, including California, declared May 29 as Bob Hope Day (or a similar name). Hope, though, was in rather poor health and had also been having trouble with his hearing and sight. Some of his children went to the Hollywood celebration in his place.
He Was a Harlem Globetrotter Hope was named an honorary Globetrotter in 1977, receiving jersey number 1. He accepted the honor in typical Hope style by joking, "To be perfectly frank, I deserve to be a Globetrotter ...The Trotters are famed for making baskets. I’ve been making baskets myself lately, and if the psychiatrists let me out for an hour, I’ll be there for your presentation.”
He Spent 48 Christmases Overseas Bob Hope and his wife, Dolores, had four children named Linda, Anthony, William and Eleanora, but he missed spending 48 Christmases with them. He spent those holidays performing with the USO overseas entertaining the troops, beginning in 1942 during World War II. His Christmas show from Vietnam in 1972, is one of the most popular, and his last show was in 1990 and broadcast from Bermuda.
Without Bob Hope, There Would Have Been No Tony Bennett. Singer Tony Bennett is so ubiquitous now that it's hard to imagine a time when he was struggling. But there was a time like that, and Bob Hope was the one who got Bennett out of that trap. Bennett had been working under the stage name of Joe Barry, and while his voice was good, the name seemed off. Hope advised him to choose a stage name closer to his birth name (Benedetto) and came up with Tony Bennett.
Tiger Woods Played Golf With Hope at Age Two In 1978, Earl Woods brought his 2-year-old son, Tiger, to “The Mike Douglas Show” to compete in a putting contest as Bob Hope and actor Jimmy Stewart looked on. The little boy missed the first put and made the audience laugh when he moved the ball to within several inches of the hole for his second try. At 21, when he was the hottest golf player in the country, Hope called to ask if he would play at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic but was turned down because of a scheduling conflict.
“Gilligan’s Island” Might Not Have Happened Except for Hope
Sherwood Schwartz was in school studying for a biology degree but needed a job, so he wrote jokes for Bob Hope, who had a radio program. Hope liked Schwartz’s jokes so much he hired him as a member of his writing staff. That was just the beginning because Schwartz went on to create “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Brady Bunch” as well as write for popular comedian Red Skelton. Schwartz described his rise in Hollywood as an accident his whole life.