Dolores Hope, widow of Bob Hope, dead at 102

Dolores Hope poses with her 100th birthday cake at her 'Ten Decades Of Life' party on May 27, 2009, in Toluca Lake, California.

Story highlights

  • "She was the First Lady of the USO," Carol Channing says
  • She met Bob Hope in 1933 when she was singing at a New York club
  • Dolores Hope put her singing career on hold to raise four adopted children
  • Bob Hope was 100 when he died in 2003
Dolores Hope, the widow of actor-comedian Bob Hope, died of natural causes at her Los Angeles home Monday, her family said. She was 102.
"I had such a huge admiration for both of them," actress Julie Newmar said. "The quality it takes to get just one year older, says a lot about that fact that she lived to 102. What a glorious woman and life!"
Although she put her singing career on hold after her marriage to Hope, Dolores Hope was active as a philanthropist, involved in her own causes as well as her husband's.
Military troops entertained by her husband's USO shows knew Dolores Hope because she would usually close the shows with a rendition of "Silent Night," according to a biography provided by her family.
"She was the First Lady of the USO," Carol Channing said. "They didn't come any more patriotic, caring or talented than Dolores."
Her last USO show performance came at age 84, when she sang "White Christmas" to Operation Desert Storm troops from the back of a truck in the Saudi desert.
She restarted her singing career at the age of 83 by recording several albums. She performed with Rosemary Clooney at Rainbow and Stars in New York for several weeks.
Born in Harlem in New York on May 27, 1909, Dolores DeFina was a singer at Manhattan's Vogue Club when she met Bob Hope in 1933. It was "love at first song," the biography quotes Bob Hope as saying.
The couple married the next year and later adopted four children.
The couple moved in the late 1930s from New York to California, where he pursued a movie and radio career.
Bob Hope was 100 when he died July 27, 2003.
"Dolores once said that their longevity could be credited to laughter and they certainly had a lot of that in their lives," said actress Alison Arngrim.
The family will hold a private funeral at burial at the Bob Hope Memorial Garden, San Fernando Mission, California, where her husband was interred.