Leslie Towns "Bob" Hope, KBE, KC*SG, KSS (May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003) was an American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete and author. With a career that spanned nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in more than 70 short and feature films, including a series of "Road" movies. In addition to hosting the Academy Awards show nineteen times, more than any other host, he appeared in many stage productions and television roles, and was the author of 14 books. The song "Thanks for the Memory" is widely regarded as his signature tune.
Hope was born in Eltham, Kent, England, arrived in America with his family at the age of four, and grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. He began his career in show business in the early 1920s, initially on stage, then began appearing on the radio and in films in 1934. He was praised for his comedy timing, specializing in one-liners and rapid-fire delivery of jokes which often were self-depreciating. Celebrated for his long career performing United Service Organizations (USO) shows to entertain active duty American military personnel—he made 57 tours for the USO between 1941 and 1991—Hope was declared an honorary veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces in 1997 by act of the Congress. He also appeared in numerous specials for NBC television, starting in 1950, and was one of the first users of cue cards. He participated in the sports of golf and boxing and owned a small stake in his hometown baseball team, the Cleveland Indians. He died at age 100 at his home in Toluca Lake, California.