It’s been nearly 18 years since the legendary comedian Bob Hope passed away at the ripe old age of 100. Now, his eldest child Linda Hope is opening up about how her dad managed to achieve becoming a centenarian.
Linda explained to Page Six that her dad’s secret to making it to 100 was simply sheer will power. He wanted to make it to 100 so badly that nothing was going to stop him from doing it!
“He was determined to do that,” Linda said. “His grandfather lived to be just short of 100 so Dad’s goal was always to beat his grandpa. I think it kept him alive towards the end.”
Hope died in July of 2003, less than two months after achieving his goal of celebrating his 100th birthday.
Linda is promoting her new book that she wrote with Martha Bolton called “Dear Bob: Bob Hope’s Wartime Correspondence with the G.I.s of World War II.” The book is filled with emotional letters that soldiers, nurses and wives wrote to Hope, who was famous for his USO tours that spanned nearly 50 years. These correspondences now reside in the Library of Congress, and they are touching, intimate, and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Linda, who is now 88 years-old herself, said that she was “very touched by the kind of rapport” the servicemen shared with her father.
“It wasn’t like writing to a movie star,” she revealed. “I thought that was very touching actually. The spirit of these people, a lot of them in hospital. They kept their spirits up and tried to joke with him. It told a lot about the character of all the people, not only my dad but these men and women fighting for peace.”
Linda still has nothing but fond memories of her father, who she said was “an awful lot of fun.”
“He was a very playful guy,” she recalled of him. “When he would go out in the morning to the studio, we had a breakfast room with glass windows all around, he would always do a little tap dance for us as he would leave and sing a tune and tap his way off to Paramount.”
“He was absolutely charming and a little bit of a bad boy,” she added with a laugh. “I’m sure in my mother’s eyes. She was always trying to teach us table manners and all the things about life that we needed to know and he was all about fun.”
Unlike many Hollywood stars, Linda remembers her father as a very down-to-earth person.
“I think a lot of people have the idea that movie stars, performers lead a golden life and everything is magic and falls in place,” she said. “His was not, it was so reality based and he worked really really hard.”