Delores Hope dies at 102

Delores Hope (the widow of comedian Bob Hope) died peacefully Monday morning at her home in Toluca Lake, Calif. At the age of 102.
The former Delores DeFina was born in the Bronx. She was singing in a Manhattan nightclub under her professional name Dolores Reade when she met her husband – the iconic comedian Bob Hope.
The comedian said to dancer George Murphy after hearing Delores signing “It’s Only a Paper Moon” in New York City: “I am going to marry her.” And he did on Feb. 19, 1934.
The couple were married for 69 years. Delores gave up her career to raise their four children – Tony, Linda, Kelly and Nora. She was very active in charities and, like her husband, an avid golfer.
In 1966, Delores sang “Silent Night” in front of thousands of GIs and earned a standing ovation. In the late 1980′s, Delores came out of retirement and released CDs of old standards songs and sang at the Rainbow and Stars nightclubs in New York’s Rockefeller Center with her good friend Rosemary Clooney. Both the CDs and the acts were hits and were reviewed very well.
When Delores once asked her husband Bob where he wanted to be buried he said: “Oh, just surprise me.” Bob Hope died at the age of 100 in 2003. He is buried in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery. Delores will be buried in the plot beside him in a private ceremony on Friday.

Delores Hope dies at 102
Delores Hope.

Dolores Hope (who gave up her singing career to spend 69 years at the side of her husband, Bob Hope, pursuing philanthropy and projecting with him the image of an enduring Hollywood marriage) died on Monday in the home she and her husband bought in 1940 in the Toluca Lake section of Los Angeles. She was 102.
Her death was announced by her publicist, B. Harlan Boll. She also had a home in Palm Springs, Calif.
After Bob Hope’s death at age 100 in July 2003, Mrs. Hope continued the philanthropic work they had done together, largely through the Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation.
But before she was widowed, she had reclaimed a bit of the spotlight for herself. In 1993, when Mr. Hope, who was six years her senior, had semiretired, she recorded her first album – “Now and Then,” a collection of prewar hits and more recent songs. Over the next decade she made several more albums, including “Somewhere in Time: The Songs and Spirit of WWII” and, with her husband – “Hopes for the Holidays.”
In 1997, a few days short of her 88th birthday, she was a special guest performer at her friend Rosemary Clooney’s engagement at the New York nightclub Rainbow and Stars, singing three numbers, including “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” which she had sung the night she met Hope.
“Her timbre was clear and strong, her intonation pitch-perfect” – Stephen Holden wrote in a review in The New York Times. He described her as “remarkably agile, big-voiced” and her performance as strong and “liltingly swinging.”
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.

Lucille Ball once said: “The smartest thing Bob Hope ever did was marry Dolores.”
Bob and Dolores honeymooned in Europe and sailed home on the Queen Mary – its final voyage before she was converted into a troop carrier for service during World War II. Hope, by then a famous radio comedian, began entertaining American servicemen overseas for the USO – and his wife often made the trips with him, sleeping on their coats and never complaining about the discomforts.
Giving up her career to raise their children – they had four – Tony, Linda, Kelly and Nora – Dolores was also active in charities, an inveterate golfer – like her husband, an animal fancier and an avid follower of current events. Then again, she and Bob had met every President and First Lady from Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt to Bill and Hillary Clinton. She considered herself a political independent.
While Bob traveled continuously, she kept adding on to their homes in Palm Springs and Toluca Lake – in the San Fernando Valley, which prompted her husband to quip when he got back from one trip: “Hey, I need a map.”
Despite having put her singing career on hold for fifty years, Dolores reactivated it when she was in her late 80s, releasing CDs of old standards and singing at the Rainbow and Stars nightclub in New York’s Rockefeller Center with her dear friend Rosemary Clooney. Both the CDs and the singing engagement were critical hits.
As she admitted, she paid to produce the CDs herself, “but it’s better than buying another piece of jewelry” – she said with a laugh.
A devout Catholic who liked to have a martini after Mass – Bob’s den in the Toluca Lake house served as her private chapel – Dolores once asked Bob where he wanted to be buried. “Oh, just surprise me” – he told her.
Bob Hope died in 2003, age 100, and is buried in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery. Dolores will have the plot beside him, and private services for family are planned for Friday.

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