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Bob Hope: Entertainer of the Century




American entertainer Bob Hope holds a golf club as he stands on stage and smiles with Les Brown's band, during a 1967 USO show to entertain American troops overseas during the conflict in Vietnam.
American entertainer Bob Hope holds a golf club as he stands on stage and smiles with Les Brown's band, during a 1967 USO show to entertain American troops overseas during the conflict in Vietnam.
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He’s been dubbed the father of stand up comedy. He’s acted in movies, entertained American troops with the USO, starred in vaudeville  and even put out a few singles. Over the course of his 70 year career, Bob Hope established himself as the definition of an entertainer. Today, his influence is still visible here in Southern California. Burbank’s airport bears his name in honor of his contributions to the nearby entertainment industry.

Richard Zoglin’s new biography Hope: Entertainer of the Century chronicles Hope’s career in entertainment, highlighting his massive success in showbiz, his commitment to public service, and his business savvy. It also explores Hope’s personal life, his repuation for being cheap and self-centered, and his well-known womanizing. Zoglin’s book is the result of extensive reporting and the cooperation of the Hope family, who made more than 250 boxes of Hope’s papers available to him for the book.

Hope’s death in 2003 at the age of 100 was a crushing loss to the entertainment world, but his legacy and influence is still very visible in the L.A. area.

What is your favorite Bob Hope memory? Do you have a favorite film, interview, or comedy routine of his? Do you agree or disagree with Zoglin’s argument that Bob Hope was the most important entertainer of the 20th century?

Guest:

Richard Zoglin, author “Hope Entertainer of the Century,” Theater critic, Time Magazine