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October 7, 2015

Bob Hope's Widow Dolores Dies, Aged 102

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 20th 2011 5:00AM
Dolores HopeIt feels like the end of an era as we hear that Dolores Hope, singer, vaudevillian and wife of comic and actor Bob Hope, has died at the age of 102.

Hope family spokesman Harlan Boll said Dolores died Monday of natural causes at her home in the Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles.

Born Dolores DeFina in The Bronx, New York in 1909, Dolores had a successful nightclub singing career under the name Dolores Reade.

She met Hope in 1933 when he saw her perform in the Vogue Club in New York City and they married in 1934. Dolores then joined Hope's vaudeville act before putting her career on hold so they could concentrate on his movie and TV career.

Dolores accompanied Hope on his U.S.O. Christmas tours to entertain the troops from the late 1940s onward, and she performed on his numerous NBC television specials.

She also oversaw the Hopes' extensive program of charitable giving, playing a pivotal role in the establishment of the Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Desert, Calif.

The Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose H. Gomez paid tribute to Dolores, telling the Associated Press that "Both the entertainment world and the church have lost a woman of profound faith, gifted musical talent and dedication."

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan told the AP that "Dolores ... was an extraordinary partner to Bob throughout his entire life, supporting both their family at home and Bob's selfless cause to entertain U.S. troops abroad. Together, they brought countless hours of laughter and cheer to Americans everywhere."

Bob Hope, who was one of the most beloved U.S. entertainers of the 20th century, died in 2003 at the age of 100. The Hopes had been married for 69 years and raised four children. They both received numerous awards for their humanitarian work and efforts on behalf of the poor.

Dolores revived her musical career late in life, recording her first CD -- 'Dolores Hope: Then and Now' -- at the age of 83. She then recorded three more albums and performed with Rosemary Clooney. Her last U.S.O. performance was in 1991 when she performed 'White Christmas' from the back on a truck in the Saudi Arabian desert.

Dolores Hope is survived by two children, three grandchildren and one great-grandson. After a private funeral service she will be buried next to her husband at the Bob Hope Memorial Garden at the San Fernando Mission outside Los Angeles.

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