Foreword

By Jane Russell

Nobody needs to tell you that Bob Hope is a one-of-a-kind personality, and a Gemini. I don't know if he has so many lifelong friends and helpers because he's so relaxed and amusing -- or if he's relaxed and amusing 99 percent of the time because he has an army of old loving friends and family who would do anything for him, anything in the world.

I've been lucky enough to be around him making two pictures, Paleface and Son of Paleface, and on many trips through the states on military bases and aircraft carriers during the war to entertain the troops, and I have never seen this darling man upset or losing his cool in any situation. In part of his comedy in film he plays a guy getting utterly rattled or scared -- but, believe me, that's only in the movies -- not for one second after the director has called cut. Working with him has been nothing but fun. His name for me was "Lumps."

One day it was about 4:45 and we'd finished a shot and the next one was a large scene, which was going to need more lighting, and Bob looked at his watch and then casually announced, 'Well, this looks like it's going to take a while, and I think I could get in about nine holes before dark, so I'll see you all tomororow." And he sauntered across the stage and out the door as we all stood slack-jawed, staring after him. As the stage door closed, director Norman McCloud, a darling man with his own sense of humor, stomped his foot and whined, "Bob, you come back here!" We all roared with laughing and went home. Only the crew stayed to light the set for the first shot tomorrow.

He is totally Mr. Relaxed, with a marvelous sense of humor. The only thing that never rests are those chocolate brown eyes, which never miss a thing going on in any room he's in - while awake.

Oh, and that reminds me - In New York at the Paramount Theater he could drop off to sleep between the six shows a day for about fifteen minutes and wake up totally refreshed. I wanted to kill him. I had to struggle to get my nine hours in every night while wearing eye shades and earplugs so the 3 a.m. drunks in the hall wouldn't wake me up. I even got a hotel across the street so I didn't waste time in cabs, while he stayed across town on the chic side. One morning I overslept and came tearing across the street in my fur coat, and heard him about to introduce me. I rushed to the wings and opened my coat to show him my flannel nightgown. He just giggled and went on with another bevy of jokes till I got into the beaded gown in my dressing roomo and then threw on some lipstick.

Oh, I take that back, I did see him upset once. When he was due at a military or charity do, it was his habit to get to the show just a bit before he was to appear on stage. and when he was through, to walk very quickly out the door to the car where his buddies were waiting for him with the car running. He'd done it before the fans even knew what happened. But the rest of us got trapped in the mob for hours. So I announed to him that the next time I was going in his car with him. He looked very agitated and said, "Oh, no, you can't. You'll never get changed in time." The next time I walked just as fast right behind him and got in with my beaded dress and dangled earrings right beside him. I'm a Gemini too.

Years later, at a show in Palm Springs while I was onstage, people were asking questions about leading men and someone asked, of all my leading men - Mitchum, Gable, etc. etc., who was the best kisser? Without a second thought I said, "Bob Hope." It was wonderful kissing those big, soft, flabby lips. Mmmm yeah!!!

Coming onstage, Bob hollered, "I wasn't even trying."

So enjoy this book about our darling, one-of-a-kind Gemini cool cat. By the way, Dolores is a Gemini too."

Jane Russell

Montecito California, July 2001

 BACK COVER TEXT:

 

A true life and times style book. "The Spirit of Bob Hope" written by celebrity author Richard Grudens, traces the real Bob Hope from his early days performing in Cleveland, Ohio, and New York, to his world-wide fame earned in radio, television and films, as well as his unselfish performances all over the world for the USO during World War II right through Desert Storm, Documented through the eyes of many of his friends and fellow performers, as well as bob's own comments as told to Grudens during personal interviews, revealing a touching portrait of a wonderful man.

How many of you were aware that Bob Hope, whose real name is Leslie Town Hope, was; born in England; a professional boxer; a very good dancer and singer who introduced many standard songs; a full-fledged traveling vaudeville actor; a prominent Broadway star; a radio pioneer; and a television icon? The "Spirit of Bob Hope" accurately encapsulates his story incorporating over 100 photos punctuating each stage of his life.

Here you will find personal testimonials and tributes in their own words from the great and near great: Legendary actress Jane Russell, Kathryn Crosby, Connie Haines, Rhonda Fleming, Charlton Heston, Patty Andrews, Pat Boone, Doris Day, Ann Jillian, Frances Langford, Margaret Whiting, Phyllis Diller, Shirley Jones, Frankie Laine, Rosemary Clooney, musical director Lee Hale. M*A*S*H creator Larry Gelbart, James Bacon, Ed McMahon, and golfers Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

With a loving foreword by Hope's co-star Jane Russell, Richard Grudens, author of "Jerry Vale - A Singer's Life," "Jukebox Saturday Night," and "Snootie Little Cutie - the Connie Haines Story," provides a perfect personal portrait of America's best loved comedian and the world's most famous citizen. This is the book Bob Hope fans all of the world have been waiting for.

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