Dolores Hope, Bob Hope’s widow, who died on Monday at 102, will be buried alongside her beloved husband of 69 years.
Bob Hope died in 2003 and is buried in the Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana Cemetery in California, where Dolores already had the plot beside him inscribed for herself.
Dolores Hope was married to the comedy legend for 69 years and sometimes sang on his shows for U.S. troops and on his television specials.
According to family spokesman Harlan Boll, Dolores Hope passed away at home in Los Angeles.
In 2009, at her 100th birthday party, Dolores Hope appeared little changed: her white hair was richly coiffed, her skin smooth and her voice deep and warm. Even if she was brought to the party in a wheelchair, Dolores Hope was alert and happy as she greeted old friends and posed for photographs.
After the party, Dolores Hope said: “I thought it was going to be just another birthday.”
In 1933, when Bob Hope was appearing in his first Broadway show, Roberta, his friend and fellow cast member George Murphy persuaded him to visit the Vogue Club to “hear a pretty girl sing”. She was Dolores Reade, a dark beauty whose singing of “It’s Only a Paper Moon” entranced the young comedian.
“I’ll never forget what a wonderful singer she was,” said Rip Taylor.
“In fact, that’s how Bob and Dolores met. It seems to me that they were always laughing.”
Bob Hope returned every night and soon he was escorting Dolores to her hotel after her shows. Bob and Dolores Hope married on February 19, 1934, and she quit nightclubs to join his vaudeville act.
“Bob was the hot thing in New York then,” Dolores Hope recalled in 1997.
“I thought I’d better stay home and take care of Bob.”
When Bob and Dolores Hope moved to Hollywood in 1938 for the beginning of his film career, she stayed home and devoted her time to raising the four children that they adopted: Linda, Anthony, Kelly and Nora.
“I had such a huge admiration for both of them,” said Julie Newmar.
“The quality it takes to get just one year older, says a lot about that fact that she lived to 102.”
Dolores Hope continued singing at parties, and in the 1940s she began accompanying Bob on his Christmas trips to entertain U.S. troops.
In 1966, Dolores Hope sang “Silent Night” to hushed thousands of GI’s who then rose and gave her a thunderous ovation, many with tears in their eyes.
In 1990, Dolores Hope accompanied Bob on his last Christmas visit to American forces, visiting troops who were in Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Storm. Marie Osmond, Ann Jillian and the Pointer Sisters did not perform, to avoid offending Saudi sensibilities about women entertainers. But Dolores Hope was approved and sang “White Christmas” to a rapt audience.
“She was the first lady of the USO,” said Carol Channing. “They didn’t come any more patriotic, caring or talented than Dolores.”
Aside from overseeing two homes- the 18,000 square-foot mansion in North Hollywood and the 25,000 square-foot hilltop home in Palm Springs – Dolores Hope worked indefatigably for numerous charities. From 1969 to 1976 she served as president of the Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Desert, California, then becoming chairwoman.
In 1982, Dolores Hope explained her philosophy:
“I like being with people, but I also need to have my time alone. I think it’s terribly important to have some time during the day when you stop and take all the energy that you have given out and pull it back in, find the source of your energy. Then you work from there.”