Comedian Bob Hope (05:12)
In 1943, Hope joined the newly created United Service Organization. He was in Palermo, Italy when the city was attacked by Nazi bombers. Though he was one of the biggest stars in American pop culture, Hope frequently put himself in danger to entertain the troops.
Hope's Early Life (05:48)
Hope was born in 1903 in London, but his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio when he was four. His family was poor, and he began working at a young age. He took dance lessons and started working in vaudeville.
Hope's Big Break (03:24)
Hope worked in vaudeville for eight years but struggled to make a living. He became a master of ceremonies at a vaudeville theater and began using more improv and rapid-fire jokes. He is considered the first stand-up comedian.
Hope's Marriage (02:28)
Hope began performing in musical comedies on Broadway, including "Roberta." He met singer Dolores Reade through his Broadway friends and they married in 1934; they were together for 69 years.
Hope's Onscreen Start (04:52)
Hope had his first screen test in 1933 and began working with Warner Brothers. He appeared in numerous comedy shorts, but his Broadway career was more successful. In 1937, he moved to Hollywood to appear in "The Big Broadcast of 1938."
Hope's Radio Career (07:02)
Hope started his radio show in 1938. He hired a team of eight writers from New York and moved them to Los Angeles. They began to create the character of "Bob Hope," who was mostly based on Hope's personality.
Hope's Stardom (04:31)
Paramount Pictures created film roles for Hope that fit with the lovable, coward radio persona he had created. The film roles helped build the character and he became one of the biggest comedic actors.
Roads Pictures (07:09)
Hope and Bing Crosby were close friends and starred in a series of movies. Their comedic chemistry and fresh style made the movies a huge success.
Hope and the USO (06:44)
Hope performed live versions of his radio show at military bases in and around California. He began his USO tour in 1942 and traveled with a small group of entertainers. He put himself into dangerous situations and showed a dedication to the troops, endearing him to the American public.
Hope and the Troops (06:52)
Hope and his troupe closed off their emotions to provide the best show for the soldiers and give them a reminder of home. His shows were broadcast back to the United States, which gave the home front a different perspective of life for their missing loved ones. Hope was viewed as a hero when the war ended.
Hope's Charm (05:51)
Hope had his own brand of comedy and charisma that influenced many others. His timing and physical comedy added more humor to his performances.
Hope's Fame and Fortune (04:18)
Hope persued business endeavors with Crosby and bought the Cleveland Indians. He became one of the richest people in Hollywood. He enjoyed being famous and constant performances resulted in him having few close relationships.
Hope's Acting Career (02:01)
In 1948, Hope appeared in "Sorrowful Jones," one of his few serious roles. It showed that he could be touching and dramatic, but it did not fit with the persona he had created.
Hope's Family (04:53)
Hope and Reade could not have biological children and adopted four. Hope was not often home as the children grew up, but spent significant time with his family when he was. Hope had numerous affairs and a reputation for dating coworkers.
Hope's Television Career (06:06)
Hope was one of the first radio stars to make the switch to television in 1950. He decided to do a series of specials instead of a weekly show. He understood the power of actors making mistakes during live comedy specials.
Hope's T.V. Comedy (05:10)
Hope had a slower and more causal comedic style on television than he did on radio. He started the trend of comedic monologues about news and current events.
Hope's Serious Acting (04:02)
After Crosby won an Oscar, Hope began accepting more serious roles. His most successful was "The Seven Little Foys," which is about a family of vaudeville performers.
Hope and the Oscars (03:18)
Hope hosted the awards show on the radio multiple times and was asked to host the first televised ceremony in 1953. Being a member of Hollywood made him an excellent host and he was asked back numerous times.
Hope and Public Service (04:43)
Hope's work for the USO, made him a model for public service in Hollywood. He felt stars had an obligation to use their fame for good. Hope returned to the USO in 1948 and continued performing an annual show on Christmas until 1991.
Hope and the Vietnam War (07:27)
Hope went to entertain troops after receiving a request from the Defense Department. He drew criticism during the Vietnam era for his strong support of the war. He started becoming out of touch with modern audiences.
Hope and President Nixon (04:13)
Nixon viewed Hope as someone who the troops looked up to and could convince them to support the Vietnam War. Hope wanted to entertain the soldiers, regardless of public opinion.
Hope's Later Career (05:11)
"Saturday Night Live" premiered in 1975 and changed the landscape of television comedy. Hope struggled to adapt to the changes but did not stop trying.
Credits: This Is Bob Hope... (02:11)
Credits: This Is Bob Hope...
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