Bob Hope: Laughter was the best medicine

Opinion Uncategorized

As a proud Briton drowning in a sea of Americanisation, Bob Hope’s death has upset many on both sides of the Atlantic.

And just two months after his one-hundredth birthday.

Although Hope will be remembered for being the dean of American comedy, Bob was profoundly British.

Even when Hollywood beckoned, it always seemed he personified tea and crumpets and rainy Bank Holidays.

In 1998, Hope was knighted a commander of the British Empire on behalf of Her Majesty and once famously declared that he only left England because he realized he couldn’t become king.

The fifth of seven sons, Bob was born Leslie Townes Hope on the 29th of May, 1903 in Eltham England, his father a stonemason, his mother a Welsh opera singer.

Setting sail across the Atlantic at the age of four during the Great Depression, Hope was only one of a handful of British entertainers who made it big across the pond during the early years of the silver screen.

He was the author of twelve books, friends of presidents, hosted the Academy Awards no less than 16 times (eat your heart out Billy Crystal) and his movie credits include "The Road to Singapore", starring alongside Bing "White Christmas" Crosby.

Bob Hope was such a household name that his humour transcended generations.

The master of the one-liner; he excelled at comic timing and undoubtedly influenced every funnyman or woman in the world today, young or old.

His long-suffering secretary once said that in thirty years she had typed out about seven million jokes and had never laughed once.

Despite his fear of flying, Hope was regularly seen on CNN or Sky News, entertaining American troops who went to war.

In a volatile world full of terrorism, poverty and despair Bob knew that laughter had the power to heal.

"A sense of humour is good for you," he once quipped. "Have you ever heard of a laughing hyena with heart burn?"