Bob Hope dead at 100
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Bob Hope, ski-nosed master of the one-liner and favorite comedian of servicemen and presidents alike, has died, less than two months after turning 100.
Hope died late Sunday of pneumonia, his longtime publicist Ward Grant said Monday. Hope's family was at his bedside at his home in Toluca Lake.
The nation's most-honored comedian, a millionaire many times over, was a star in every category open to him - vaudeville, radio, television and film, most notably a string of ''Road'' movies with longtime friend Bing Crosby. For decades, he took his show on the road to bases around the world, boosting the morale of servicemen from World War II to the Gulf War.
He perfected the one-liner, peppering audiences with a fusillade of brief, topical gags.
''I bumped into Gerald Ford the other day. I said, 'Pardon me.' He said, 'I don't do that anymore.'''
He poked fun gently, without malice, and made himself the butt of many jokes. His golf scores and physical attributes, including his celebrated ski-jump nose, were frequent subjects:
''I want to tell you, I was built like an athlete once - big chest, hard stomach. Of course, that's all behind me now.''
When Hope went into one of his monologues, it was almost as though the world was conditioned to respond. No matter that the joke was old or flat; he was Bob Hope and he got laughs.
''Audiences are my best friends,'' he liked to say. ''You never tire of talking with your best friends.''
He was admired by his peers, and generations of younger comedians. Woody Allen called Hope ''the most influential comedian for me.''