Tuesday, September 21, 2010
BOB HOPE MEMORIAL LIBRARY DEDICATION CEREMONY
An Act of Congress Names A National Landmark For One of America's Most Beloved Immigrants and World Renown Entertainers
On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the Hope Family, including Bob Hope's daughter Linda and his son Kelly and invited guests from the worlds of theater, film, television and comedy (notable names of attendees to be released later) will gather for the formal dedication of the newly refurbished Bob Hope Memorial Library located in the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island.
Dolores Hope, 101, a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and a proud American of Irish and Italian heritage said, "Bob would be very pleased to receive this momentous honor. His arrival at Ellis Island was an important moment for him; the beginning of a new life full of opportunity."
His daughter agrees. "This honor would have meant the world to my dad. He was, of course, very proud of his English/Welsh roots but he loved his adopted country with a passion. He loved the spirit of its people and he used to marvel at all the opportunities he had as an American. He lived the American dream and spent much of his adult life giving back to the men and women who made the freedom he enjoyed possible, the United States Military."
Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum selling, five-time Grammy nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” will close the ceremony with his rendition of Bob Hope's signature song. Mr. Feinstein performed that song on Bob's 100th birthday celebration and is a longtime friend of the Hope family. "Bob was a man who never forgot his roots and spent his life helping others. Knowing him was a great thrill and I'll be very proud to sing “Thanks For The Memory” in his honor," he said.
Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, England on May 29, 1903. His English father, William Henry Hope, was a stonemason -- his Welsh mother, Avis Townes Hope, an aspiring concert singer. In 1907, Leslie's mother brought her five sons through Ellis Island, joining their father who had come over earlier to make a home for them in Cleveland, OH. In 1920, by virtue of his father's naturalization, “Bob” -- the name by which the world would later know him -- and his brothers became United States citizens. (Bob joked, “I left England at the age of four when I found out I couldn't be king.")
For a man who once played third billing to Siamese twins and trained seals, Hope became one of the most recognized profiles and talent in the world. And, in the entire history of show business, no individual traveled so far -- so often -- to entertain so many. Hope entertained audiences in every decade of the 20th century -- from impersonating Charlie Chaplin in front of the firehouse in Cleveland in 1909, to celebrating an unprecedented 61 years with NBC in 1996. He was an innovative comedian who developed the art of the monologue and made America laugh for over 70 years.
Hope is perhaps most remembered for his dedication to entertaining the troops throughout 60 years, first at March Field, California at the beginning of WWII, continuing through Korea, Viet Nam with his final tour at age 87 to the Middle East with Operation Desert Storm. He was rewarded for this extraordinary effort by an Act of Congress naming him an honorary veteran, an honor which he treasured.
Bob Hope now holds two entries in The Guinness Book of World Records. His newest award is for having the distinction of being the entertainer with "the longest running contract with a single network - spanning sixty-one years." His first record was for being the "most honored entertainer."
Hope has more than two thousand awards and citations for humanitarian and professional efforts, including 54 honorary doctorates. He hosted the Academy Awards 19 times and received two Oscar statues. In 1952 he received an Honorary Academy Award for his contribution to the laughter of the World -- his service to the Motion Picture Industry and his devotion to the American premise. In 1959, the Academy bestowed the Special Jean Hersholt Academy Award for Outstanding philanthropic contributions to the film industry.
He died in 2003 at the age of 100.
THE BOB HOPE MEMORIAL LIBRARY
The Bob Hope Memorial Library will showcase exhibits of Hope's career in the entertainment business as well as memorabilia pertaining to his USO tours and golfing endeavors. There will be a display area about other famous immigrants that came through Ellis Island and that section will change on a regular basis. A highlight of the exhibit will be a kiosk with Bob Hope jokes.
The reading area at the Bob Hope Memorial Library, located on the third floor of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, contains books, periodicals, contemporary and historical photographs, film and video productions, unpublished manuscripts, archival collections, oral history interviews and other research materials relating to the history of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, immigration history and the National Park Service.
Library hours: Open every day except Christmas. Monday-Sunday. Hours are Commensurate with the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, approximately 10 AM-to 4 or 5 PM. General information: Tel: (212) 363-3206 Ext. 158 www.nps.gov/stli