|Bob Hope (1903)
Although he has become an American icon, Hope was actually born to an English father and a Welsh mother in Eltham, England on May 29, 1903, as Leslie Townes Hope. He and his parents came to the US in 1907. Bob made his show business debut in 1924 in a dancing act with partner Lloyd Durbin in a Fatty Arbuckle Revue. After achieving success in vaudeville and on Broadway as a singer, dancer, and comedian, and appearing in several films beginning in 1934 (the same year he married Dolores Reade), he finally landed his first big movie role in The Big Broadcast of 1938, in which he sang what later became his signature tune, Thanks For the Memories.
The highlight of his movie career was the series of "Road" films (to Singapore, Zanzibar, Morocco, Utopia, Rio, Bali, and Hong Kong) he made with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour from 1940 to 1962. He was the top box office draw in 1950. Some of his other notable films include The Ghost Breakers (1940), My Favorite Blonde (1942), and The Paleface (1948).
Hope spent much of World War II traveling the world to entertain Allied troops, a service he also performed during later wars in Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East. For these activities and for his continued contributions to the industry he was given a special Academy Award on five occasions. He was even Knighted by Queen Elizabeth. Though his superstar years ended in the 1960s, Hope continued to make appearances well into the 1990s.
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