Bob Hope entertaining soldiers during World War II (Wikimedia Commons | U.S. Army)
When Bob Hope died ten summers ago, he left behind a legacy as one of the best known, most loved, and longest lasting stars in the entertainment business. For six decades, Hope made us laugh in vaudeville, in the movies, at the Academy Awards, on stage and in print. He was renowned for his longevity (Hope was 100 years old at the time of his death), his love for golf, and his contributions to charity. But perhaps Bob Hope's greatest legacy is his work entertaining the troops.
Beginning in 1941 and continuing for half a century, Bob Hope headlined 57 USO tours, bringing a bit of joy to the lives of U.S. military men and women serving in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, and more. And he was deeply proud of this work. When President Bill Clinton named Bob Hope an honorary veteran in 1997, Hope responded, "I've been given many awards in my lifetime – but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most – is the greatest honor I have ever received."
Today, Bob Hope would have turned 110. As we prepare to honor veterans on Memorial Day, we take a look at a few highlights of the honorary veteran’s work for the USO.
1944: A World War II show presented "somewhere in the South Pacific"
1957: In Guam and Japan with Jayne Mansfield
1966: Entertaining the troops in Cu Chi, Vietnam on Christmas Day
1984: Christmas in Beirut
1990: One of his final USO tours, with Rosemary Clooney
Written by Linnea Crowther