Bob Hope and Bing Crosby spent years working together in Hollywood, and while the two stars were very “different” from one another, they were also very “close” and they “loved each other,” according to author Richard Zoglin.
There’s a scene from 1942’s Road to Morocco in which Crosby confesses his affection for his buddy Orville, played by Hope.
“I guess in my own way, I sorta love you,” he says in the film seconds before a camel stretches through the shrubbery to plant a wet kiss on Hope’s cheek.
“All right, but you don’t have to slobber all over me!” quipped Hope.
Hope and Crosby starred in seven Road To… movies, and they always involved the two getting into trouble while cracking wisecracks back and forth. Crosby would sing in the films, while Hope would talk to the audience.
“They were the most lucrative franchise in movie history,” Gary Giddins, author of “Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreamsand Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star,” told Closer Weekly.
The duo met in 1933, when Hope, who was a struggling standup comedian at the time, was invited to emcee one of Crosby’s shows.
“They hit it off and used to take breaks together where they’d trade jokes,” said Giddins. “They tried the best bits out on stage and became a big hit with the audiences.”
Seven years later, Hope and Crosby made Road to Singapore, which was one of the biggest hits of 1940. This success didn’t make the men immediate friends, however.
“They were very different men. Bing wasn’t gregarious and didn’t like the trappings of stardom, while Bob loved them,” says Richard Zoglin, author of “Hope: Entertainer of the Century.” “I think, privately, Bob felt that Bing was a little aloof. He said, ‘Bing and his wife never even invited me and Dolores to dinner.’”
There was also a friendly competition between the pair on set over who could come up with the best zingers.
“They each had their own writers,” said Giddins, adding that “they never had a fight.”
It was not until they filmed The Road to Hong Kong in 1962 that Hope and Crosby actually became close.
“They went to London to do the film and lived in the same house with their wives,” said Giddins, who added that the men began playing golf together.
“Bob’s wife, Dolores, said that was when they first realized how much they really loved each other,” said Zoglin. “From that time on, they were very, very close.”
Hope and Crosby had been discussing another movie, The Road to the Fountain of Youth, when Crosby died of a sudden heart attack in 1977.
“Bob was really broken up about it,” Zoglin said.
Hope was so upset by Corsby’s death that he canceled his live performance that night for the first time in his career.
“If friends could have been made for each other, I would have asked for one just like Bing,” Hope said at the time. “I miss him.”