RIP, Dolores Hope

The widow of entertainer Bob Hope has died, at the amazing age of 102.

Her obituary notes her Catholic roots:

Dolores DeFina was born on May 27, 1909, in Harlem, the daughter of John Thomas DeFina and the former Theresa Kelly. She grew up in the Bronx and changed her last name to Reade when she began a career as a nightclub singer.

She was appearing at the Vogue Club in Manhattan under that name in 1933 when the actor George Murphy took Bob Hope to see her. At the time, Murphy and Hope were starring in the Jerome Kern-Otto Harbach musical comedy “Roberta” at the New Amsterdam Theater. She and Mr. Hope were married the following year.

She continued her singing career during the early years of their marriage, often appearing in Hope’s vaudeville shows, but she largely retired to bring up their four adopted children. Her husband sometimes mentioned her in his monologues, and besides turning up for many of his television specials, Mrs. Hope occasionally appeared as herself in series, including “The Jack Benny Program” in 1958 and the public affairs program “The Christophers,” also in the 1950s.

She sometimes accompanied her husband on his tours entertaining American armed forces overseas. On a Christmas tour during the Vietnam War, she sang “Silent Night” to the troops, bringing many to tears. Hope promptly sent his wife back to the United States.

“The last thing those guys needed was sentiment,” he was quoted as saying in an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail that appeared shortly after his death. “Dolores became their mother. What they needed was Raquel Welch.”

Years later, when it was suggested that Hope might have felt some professional jealousy of his wife’s talents on that occasion, he replied in character, telling The San Diego Union-Tribune, “After that, she had the nerve to sit in my spotlight at the breakfast table when we got home.”

Mrs. Hope, a Roman Catholic, received many humanitarian awards for her charitable work, much of it on behalf of Catholic charities benefitting the poor. She was also the founding president of the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. In 2008, the Ladies Professional Golf Association honored her, an avid golfer, for contributions to women’s golf.

Read more.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her…

Comments

  1. Very nice tribute, Deacon Greg. Well done. Very thoughtful.

  2. There is a unusual exhibit dedicated to Bob Hope at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Southwestern Ohio. Try this link for more information:

    http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4319.

    If you download that copy and read it, toward the bottom you will find Delores mentioned as her husband’s traveling partner on one of his last USO style tours.

  3. Mr. and Mrs. Hope gave so much to all of us but especially to our men and women in uniform, when they were far away from home. And they did it with class and style.

  4. I believe her husband converted to the Faith due to her witness. I know they donated money to the National Shrine for the crypt side chapel dedicated to (what else) Our Lady of Hope.

  5. I think the length of their marriage is a witness to love. Bob hope managed to be funny and entertaining without being vulgar and offensive, a virtue that is all but forgotten in Hollywood today. 102 years! wow, a life well lived.

  6. If anyone has the opportunity visit the beautiful Hope Garden in honor of Our Lady of Hope on the grounds of Mission San Fernando in Mission Hills, CA (near L.A. for those outside the state). Within this garden is the tomb of Bob Hope and now for Dolores as well. Their faith inspired them to use their funds to maintain this beautiful Mission and gardens and is well worth a visit to see a California mission in its pristine restored form. Nice place to pray as well. RIP.

  7. Each year my husband went out to the Bob Hope Classic with the Montgomery Inn ribs that Bob Hope served to everyone. Bob and his wife were as good and sweet as those famous ribs all their lives. When you compare them or Jimmy Stewart or many others of that era to the so called stars of today, it cracks the mirror.

  8. May she rest in peace—now being with her wonderful husband for eternity.

  9. May Mrs. Hope rest in peace.

    In a different vein: Amazing how lethal the one hundreds were for both Mr. and Mrs. Hope. Sure, they survived their eighties, and yes, they survived their nineties. But it was the one hundreds where they really met their match…Remind me to avoid that decade!

    (Sorry. Just couldn’t resist.)

  10. Morning Hope Family. A letter too you all @ her Friends as well I am hurt too hear she had passed on it hit my heart lije a ton of bricks a sweet lovey lady as herself. All my worm love. Love Mimi

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