Bob Hope rarely sat still. “I think he was allergic to downtime,” his former writer Martha Bolton tells Closer. “He was always so excited about what was coming up. He couldn’t wait to start the next thing.”

Bob’s enthusiasm for his work explains why he accomplished so much in his lifetime. His 80-year career began in vaudeville and expanded into radio, television and film. He hosted the Academy Awards 19 times and regularly traveled overseas to boost the spirits of American servicemen and women. “He didn’t just do it during war. He championed their causes in peacetime,” says Martha, who explains that Bob wanted to make sure that veterans were taken care of even after their service was over. “He would do anything for the VA hospitals.”

Martha had the distinction of being the first woman to join Bob’s writing team, in 1983. “I had already been writing for different comedians, [including] Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers,” recalls Martha, who was recommended to Bob by a mutual friend. “I started working on all of his television shows and personal appearances.”

For 15 years, Martha helped Bob come up with his topical humor. “He had the old-fashioned sense of humor and he was a class act,” she says, noting that Bob always knew where to draw the line in his family-friendly comedy. His work ethic was also first rate. “He just put everything into his work and he would expect his guests to do the same,” she says. “And they always did.”

When the beloved comedian died in 2003 at age 100, there was little left on his bucket list. “I’m sure he would have liked to win an acting Oscar,” Martha says. “And few people knew what an incredible dancer he was. [Otherwise] he used every talent he had to its fullest extent.”