Sir Bob Hope
Sir Bob Hope
Entertainer receives honorary knighthood
Web posted on: Monday, May 18, 1998 4:46:14 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Bob Hope accepted an honorary British knighthood on Sunday from the British Embassy in Washington, his comical reaction to the ceremony showing the sense of humor that made him famous.
Hope, 95, gasped, "Oh my God," after receiving a red-ribboned medal during the ceremony. After his wife Dolores asked him to make a speech, the English-born comedian, who seemed a bit overwhelmed by the whole process, quipped, "Why?"
Hope's granddaughter, who also attended the ceremony, said the knighthood meant a great deal to Hope and his family.
"He started out in the most humble beginnings," Miranda Hope said. "Here, 95 year later, he's in America, he's an American legend, an icon and a treasure. And to be recognized by the British government ... is just a deep honor."
The knighthood ceremony was just one of several high-profile events Hope was to attend this week. On Tuesday, he'll attend a reception at the Library of Congress, which is unveiling a permanent exhibit of Hope's personal papers, joke files, photos and original radio and television programs dating back to the 1930s.
Then on Friday, his wife will perform a one-night encore
with another entertainment legend Rosemary Clooney at New York's
Rainbow & Stars Room.
Hope was born Leslie Hope in Eltham, England on May 29, 1903, the
fifth of his stonemason father's seven sons. After the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio when he was four, Hope began showing a flair for comedy, winning a Charlie Chaplin imitation contest at the age of 10.
Hope's career in entertainment took him from vaudeville to the silver screen and television. He is renowned for entertaining troops during World War II, Korean, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.
Hope has received 49 honorary degrees and more than 700 awards for humanitarian and professional efforts, including presidential medals of merit. In 1952 he received an Academy Award "for his contribution to the laughter of the world."
Reuters contributed to this report.