British-born US comedian and film actor, whose dry wit and mastery of the wisecrack have made him an international superstar. In 1998 he was appointed an honorary KBE.
Hope, who was born in Eltham, London, and taken to the USA at the age of four, reached stardom and films through vaudeville, Broadway, and radio. After several shorts he appeared in The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938), in which he sang the number that was to become his theme song, ‘Thanks for the Memory’. The success of The Cat and the Canary (1939) was followed by Road to Singapore (1940), the first of the seven popular ‘Road’ films that brought Bob Hope together with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour (1914–96). The rivalry between Crosby and Hope on the screen and on the golfcourse became a standard part of both their repertoires.
Among Hope's many films were My Favourite Blonde (1942), The Paleface (1948), Fancy Pants (1950), and The Facts of Life (1960). His numerous television and club appearances, as well as his shows to entertain the troops, have ensured his continuing popularity. In addition to several volumes of autobiography, including The Road to Hollywood (1977), he has published several other humorous books. In recognition of his charitable works and contributions to the film industry he has received several Special Academy Awards and his honorary knighthood.