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Dolores Hope, Widow of Bob Hope, Dies at 102

The wife of the legendary comedian lived in Toluca Lake for more than 70 years.

Dolores Hope, widow of legendary actor/comedian Bob Hope, died Monday of natural causes at age 102 in her home, according to family spokesman Harlan Boll.

She had , and continued to live there after her husband's death in 2003 at the age of 100. At 4 p.m. Monday, about four hours after her death, .

Born Dolores DeFina in New York City, she began singing professionally in the 1930s, and met her future husband after appearing at a Manhattan nightclub. The couple were married Feb. 19, 1934, and they stayed together for 69 years, until Bob Hope's death.

Her husband was an avid golfer and they were known to frequent the nearby in Toluca Lake, the drive-through window at and . Along with their , the Hopes and Crosys made the little village of Toluca Lake a household word around the country.

After they were married, Dolores Hope joined her husband's vaudeville act, but she later left performing to focus on the couple's four adopted children—Eleanora, Linda, Kelly and Anthony.

About a decade later, however, she began performing again alongside her husband during his many overseas trips to entertain U.S. troops. Hope was a frequent USO performer and is the only person to ever be named an . In 1990, she accompanied her husband to entertain troops in Operation Desert Storm, and she was the only female entertainer permitted to perform in Saudi Arabia.

Despite her long singing career, it wasn't until she was 83 years old that she released her first album, "Dolores Hope: Now and Then."

Dolores Hope was well known for her charity work, receiving a host of humanitarian awards from a variety of institutions, including Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center and the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association. She also received a Patronal Medal from the Catholic University of America.

She and her husband received the Knight and Dame of St. Gregory the Great with Star papal honors, presented on behalf of Pope John Paul II by Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese and making Dolores one of only four women to receive the Dame of St. Gregory with Star honor.

Archbishop Jose Gomez, who now heads the Los Angeles archdiocese, noted that the Hopes were early supporters of the construction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.

"Dolores Hope was a Catholic of deep and abiding faith, and her own spiritual journey was her highest priority," Gomez said. "She not only practiced her faith regularly, she even transformed the Hope home in Toluca Lake into a special sacred space. She had a beautiful and peaceful chapel in their home, and frequently asked friends to gather for retreat days and days of recollection at the home. She was close friends to many priests and sisters over the years, as well as various cardinals, archbishops and bishops."

Dolores and Bob Hope donated the original 80 acres of land in Rancho Mirage that house the Eisenhower Medical Center, and she served on the hospital's board.

A street is named after her in her hometown of the Bronx, N.Y., and a portion of the New York Botanical Garden also bears her name.

Boll said funeral services would be for family and friends only, and she would be buried next to her husband at Bob Hope Memorial Garden at the San Fernando Mission.

"She did tell me once she credited their longevity to laughter," Boll said. "Between her and Bob they certainly had a lot of it in their lifetime."

 

City News Service contributed to this report.

Robert J. Pape, Jr. September 20, 2011 at 01:29 AM
What a wonderful woman. Now she and Bob are togeather again. God Bless them both.
Joe Sprowls September 20, 2011 at 01:41 AM
In 1962 I was living in North Hollywood and attending North Hollywood High School. St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church was my parish and on more than one occasions I saw the Hopes in church. Being young I was shocked and surprised; to think someone as famous as Bob Hope would be in church. I realize how foolish that might sound but to a 15 year old, to whom Bob Hope was an "institution" it was a different matter entirely. It was a lesson about prospective as well as reality. In more ways than one Bob Hope and the Hope Family were a life-lesson about selfless giving, and while the Hopes were given much, much was deserved. Dolores & Bob, rest in peace
Dave September 20, 2011 at 01:53 AM
Two truly wonderful and inspirational people. Bob Hope was my light in dark times growing up. His humor inspired mine, and humor has been my friend for a lot of my life. Didn't realize that Delores was as old as she was! God has the best duo now! Thanks for the memories....
Christine Neeley September 20, 2011 at 02:03 AM
Classy Lady...RIP
J Freidberg September 20, 2011 at 02:08 AM
better times back then, god bless both of them. Every time we go to Palm Springs we thing of Bob and all the good time of there era. Young people will never understand those good time
jean thompson September 20, 2011 at 02:17 AM
As a child, I loved watching Bob Hope and his wife on television. What an Amazing Voice, Delores had!!! Wow! To read about their lives, sends chills thruout my person, because of the Love, Admiration, Respect & humility they showed to one another and to the world. They've demonstrated what it meant to be "One" in marriage! What a fabulous wonderful impact, they had on the World!! God bless Delores & Bob Hope.
Stephen C McNeese September 20, 2011 at 02:19 AM
What a lovely, classy lady. They don't make them like this anymore!
Barbara Morrow September 20, 2011 at 02:21 AM
May God Bless the family of Dolores Hope and offer young people the wisdom that both Bob and Dolores shared to recognize the importance of being loving to one another and someday in Heaven hear, " Well done, faithful servant...." - The fabric of human beings like Bob Hope, Dolores Hope , Walt Disney is rarely seen...How blessed we are that God has provided our world with such gifted people!
ELLIOTT J. SCHERTZER September 20, 2011 at 02:48 AM
The world was lucky to have Bob Hope and Dolores Hope for such a long time,like another Road picture she is certainly on The Road to Heaven,to be with Bob!
LA Momma September 20, 2011 at 03:19 AM
Joe, that's been our parish for 50 years and the Hopes were tremendous supporters of the church and their community. Class act as others have said. To us kids, their Nativity was magical and we loved trick-or-treating at their house, too!
Bill Corley September 20, 2011 at 04:08 AM
She and Bob raised four chosen children. I am sure they did not check their pedicree either! I am sure they were wonderful parents and have a lovely family. That is just the kind of people they were. That was their generation. Don't we wish all parents were like that today?
Eileen Regan September 20, 2011 at 04:17 AM
Bob and Delores funded a children's eye clinic in New York City. She was there once in 1977 for an event that was going on when I was there with my son. Lovely.
Kevin Smith September 20, 2011 at 04:46 AM
What a classy & wonderful woman. She is with the Angels now along with Bob. We need more like the two of them
Fred Erenfeld September 20, 2011 at 04:50 AM
The Hope's left the world a better place to live because of their unselfish giving of their time and money to help the less fortunate. Bob will always be remembered along with Delores. "Thanks for the memories" Fred Erenfeld
sine metu September 20, 2011 at 08:15 AM
Bob and Delores were a blessing to all of us. I will miss them both tremendously. No one in this world will ever be able to take the place of them,.........ever!! Never ever two more caring people have we ever known.
Gary Bruening September 20, 2011 at 09:37 AM
May God Bless them both, what a gift they were to us all. He was at our base in S.E. Asia in 1964 and we all love and respected Bob and his friends who came to entertain us. You will always be remembered for you love and humility. Peace be with you both.
Jake103 September 20, 2011 at 12:40 PM
I sent a birthday greeting to Bob on his 100th, and got an e-mail from Delores thanking me for my best wishes. What a great pair they were.
caroline01 September 20, 2011 at 02:44 PM
There was nothing like the class of "Old Hollywood," in the sense that they always defended their Country, loved her and would never put her down! True Americans! Today, their children, the hollywood baby boomers trash her every chance they get...Hope went overseas to entertain the troops with beautiful women who danced and sang for our boys! Through his efforts he truly brought so much joy to our troops and gave them that well deserved break, if only for a couple of hours. God rest his soul and his fair maiden's soul as well. Dolores was a broad, in the good sense of the word. Seems she also knew how to keep her man! They stayed together for a lifetime and considering how divorces are a dime a dozen these days, I commend them both. Good people!!! God bless them both and I pray today, they are in the arms of the angels back together again! Thanks for all the memories Bob and Dolores!
Julie McArdle September 20, 2011 at 03:55 PM
we have lost a true Hollywwod icon...but most significantly a beautiful, genteel generous woman who lived by her great faith in God. I was lucky enought to have enjoyed her company on the golf course and at many functions throught out the years. I am saddened that many of these comments have neglected to mention the Hope's family great connection with the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. In 1946,Dolores and her mother, Theresa DeFina were founding member of the hospital Guild. Many areas within the Medical Center bear witness to their dedication and gifts to the facility. Truly...thanks, for the memories and of a beautiful life well lived. God bless.
minn September 20, 2011 at 04:50 PM
What a love story....god bless you....I meet Bob Hope and he was always nice to people no matter what! We should all follow in his kind ways...
minn September 20, 2011 at 04:52 PM
Thanks for the memorries...Dolores....as Bob would say...
janet megeed September 20, 2011 at 05:09 PM
The world is a little duller,heaven a little brighter.Mr.hope was and is my hero.My Uncle Frankie met Mr. Hope when he was serving in Vietnam.He cherished the meeting and spoke warmly about him for years.R.I.P.Dolores,along with your Bob,Love from the DiBernardo-Megeed family of Brooklyn
Beege Marshall September 20, 2011 at 07:48 PM
It IS of interest that their four children were adopted. And of interest that ALL were adopted, not some. In my family, we had both birth and adopted children throughout the last four generations. It gets tiresome that people find fault with everything and have an ax to grind or chip on your shoulder. MANY of us readers find that of interest. NOT good or bad......OF INTEREST. That is YOUR interpretation of a "lesser act of parenting", no one else's. It IS a different act of parenting. Different ..... not better or worse. Just DIFFERENT. Eeesshhh.......
nancy Grasso September 20, 2011 at 08:01 PM
After reading about Dolores Hope and then being reacquainted with the life of Bob Hope it has to be said that these two people went beyond what could be considered incredible in a lifetime. They were exceptional in the giving of their "talent and money." They were exceptional in the"longevity of their marriage, and in their choice to adopt four children." They were exceptional in their "never-ending devotion and service to our country." Finally, (but not lastly), they were exceptional in their "desire to be connected to Christ both in religion and in faith." It seems that they had an aptitude for understanding the true presence of Christ in their life and in what He has done, and continues to do for all of us. They had an uncanny ability to use their faith with clarity. Their life, in my opinion, is an expression of love for humanity, for each other and in the family they built, all of this in unity with God, so unlike what we often see in this world today. I am grateful to have lived in the same era they did and hope that I can achieve in my lifetime some of what they have taught me theirs.
Andy September 27, 2011 at 05:50 PM
It was apparently well known that Bob had a long term lover he would escort about Palm Springs, plus had many dalliances over the years apparently documented in a book written by Groucho Mark's son. It was apparently her Catholic faith that kept her going through it all and her apparently trying to block much of it out. They loved each other no doubt, but whereas she was pretty well a saint, it seems, Bob was not as far as faithfulness went. However, like others, they persevered, shared an amazing life together, loved each other, I'm sure, to the end and have left an incredible legacy. I don't know anything about the kids, although I read once predeceased Delores. I would think the others are as giving and caring as their parents. nb. it isn't speaking ill of the dead to mention Bob Hope's well known ways. They were what they were; he remained married, but it was likely due to Delores's steadfastness and faith. Many others likely wouldn't have seen it through. I wonder who the well known lady was . . .
Andy September 27, 2011 at 05:55 PM
Additionally, it was believed that Bob was married to his former partner just prior to marrying Delores. It was later stated a licence was taken out, but not used. Then, later, there was some doubt as to whether Bob and Delores did, in fact, obtain a marriage licence. The article said it was never discussed. Gossip, rumour? It doesn't matter, but all those going on about what a saint Bob was are minimizing the life out of him. He was who he was and lived life to the fullest with a wife who stood by him.Those were the times, that was the life, and it wasn't likely a joyful marriage all the time, but during certain years she had four children, her faith, and charities, golf and more. We should all be so lucky. Perhaps fewer should divorce when unfaithfulness unfortunately occurs as it often does. At the end of the day, would it have been worth it? Not to her.
Beege Marshall September 27, 2011 at 06:17 PM
Andy, I didn't know about Bob's apparently very public disrespect of Delores. Yes, it was a different time, so I have no right to judge her. Divorce was rare by comparison to today and women suffered entrapment in very unhappy, sometimes miserable situations. Religion was "used" as a reason to stay in a miserable match. And material considerations can never compensate for daily eroding of one's self-respect. Learning this blatent, public humiliation of Delores by Bob has lowered my opinion of him as a man volumes.
minn September 27, 2011 at 08:16 PM
As do many rich men they tend to find other women to hang on their shirt tails....but what I understand from another men I knew and I was friend with: who knew of Bob Hope, told me that Bob was selfish with his money.. and never paid for his girl friends........." not nothen 'ever' will' maybe he paid for dinner! and he was platonic with his women friends and he really did love his wife...
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