Bob Hope was born May 29, 1903 in Eltham, London, England and died July 27, 2003 in Toluca Lake, California. Born Leslie Townes Hope, he was a famous British-born American entertainer who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, on radio and television, in movies, and in performing tours for U.S. Military personnel.
Hope first appeared on television in 1932 during a test transmission from an experimental CBS studio in New York. His career in broadcasting spanned sixty-four years and included a long association with NBC. Hope made his network radio debut in 1937 on NBC.
His first regular series for NBC Radio was the Woodbury Soap Hour. A year later The Pepsodent Radio Show began and ran through 1953. Hope did many specials for the NBC television network in the following decades many of which were sponsored by Texaco.
Hope's Christmas specials were popular favorites and featured a performance of "Silver Bells" (from his 1951 film The Lemon Drop Kid) done as a duet with an often much younger female guest star (such as Olivia Newton-John or Brooke Shields).
His final television special was in 1996 with Tony Danza helping Hope present a retrospective about presidents of the United States. He also made a guest appearance on the NBC show "The Golden Girls" in the late 1980's. Hope performed his first United Service Organizations (USO) show on May 6, 1941, at March Field, California. He continued to travel and entertain troops for the rest of World War II and later during the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the 1990–1991 Persian Gulf War. When overseas he almost always performed in Army fatigues as a show of support for his audience. Hope's USO career lasted half a century, during which he headlined approximately sixty tours.
A 1997 act of Congress signed by President Clinton named Hope an “Honorary Veteran”. He remarked, “I've been given many awards in my lifetime — but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most — is the greatest honor I have ever received." Hope was an avid golfer.