Bob Hope proved he could do it all during his illustrious career. The Hollywood funnyman earned nearly 100 acting credits, hosted the Academy Awards 19 times and became a pinnacle of the American stand up comedy scene.

How Did Bob Hope Get His Start in Hollywood?

Before he became one of the biggest stars on television and in film, Bob was a vaudeville performer searching for his big break. The entertainer, who was born Leslie Townes Hope in 1903, appeared in six short comedies from 1935 to 1936.

“He started in vaudeville back in the earlier part of the 20th century, when it was flourishing, and went from there to Broadway, and from there into movies and radio kind of simultaneously,” Wesley Hyatt, author of Bob Hope on TV: Thanks for the Video Memories, told Closer in April 2020. “By the time television rolled around, he went into it basically because everyone else was going into it — but also because he got an offer to do an Easter special in 1950 that would pay him, I believe, the highest amount of any guest performer up until that time. He even says on the special, ‘Well, it looks like they finally got me.’”

Throughout his career, Bob did a number of TV specials that produced high ratings. “He never had to worry about that at all; he just had to worry about timing his exposure and making sure he wasn’t worn out on the medium,” Hyatt continued.

Inside Bob Hope’s Friendship With Bing Crosby

The performer also became known for his collaborations with Bing Crosby, including the successful Road to … franchise. The Hollywood duo both had vaudeville experience that helped them establish a strong camaraderie with each other.

“They hit it off and used to take breaks together where they’d trade jokes,” Gary Giddins, author of Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams and Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star, told Closer in May 2021. “They tried the best bits out on stage and became a big hit with the audiences.”

Crosby died in 1977 of a sudden heart attack, leaving Bob devastated. “If friends could have been made for each other, I would have asked for one just like Bing,” he said of his late friend. “I miss him.”

Bob Hope stands at microphone at NBC
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Who Was Bob Hope’s Wife Dolores Hope?

Bob was married to his wife, Dolores Hope, for nearly 70 years. He described their first meeting at a New York supper club as “love at first song.” Dolores began performing with Bob in his vaudeville act and accompanying him on his USO trips over the years. She died in 2011 at the age of 102.

Did Bob Hope Have Kids?

Bob and Dolores were parents to four children: Linda, Nora, Kelly and Anthony. Anthony died in 2004 at the age of 63. Linda recalled memories from growing up with her famous father.

“He was a very playful guy,” she told Page Six in April 2021. “When he would go out in the morning to the studio, we had a breakfast room with glass windows all around, he would always do a little tap dance for us as he would leave and sing a tune and tap his way off to Paramount.”

What Happened to Bob Hope?

Bob died in July 2003 at age 100. Linda revealed that her father’s goal was always to make it to 100.

“He was determined to do that,” she remarked. “His grandfather lived to be just short of 100 so Dad’s goal was always to beat his grandpa. I think it kept him alive towards the end.”