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Interview With Bob Hope's Daughter, Linda

Aired May 29, 2003 - 20:49   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, comedian Bob Hope is 100 years old today and, as you might expect, he has a new one-liner just for the occasion. He reportedly told his family -- quote -- "I'm so old they've canceled my blood type." Ba dump ba.
The city of Los Angeles and officials in some 35 states proclaimed today Bob Hope Day. L.A. marked the occasion by dedicating the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street as Bob Hope Square.

Bob Hope's daughter, Linda, joins from us from Los Angeles. She is the chief operating officer of Hope Enterprises, and she and her father have just published "Bob Hope: My Life in Jokes." It's an autobiography that is literally told in a series of jokes.

Linda, thank you so much for being with us this evening. Your father must have received hundreds if not thousands of cards. How is he doing? How did he spend the day? And how is he feeling?

LINDA HOPE, BOB HOPE'S DAUGHTER: Well, he's feeling just great, actually, for a 100-year-old man. He got up this morning and I think heard most of the news programs that were on that paid tribute to him. I say heard because his eyesight is not really very great at this point.

But I know that he had a big grin on his face as he saw all of these or heard all of these things, because it had to be bringing back hundreds and hundreds of memories to him.

COOPER: And it is such -- attention is so well deserved. He has done so much for so many in this country and really around the world.

Your dad of course, famous for his monologues. We have one that we actually want to play and talk about a little bit. Let's play that right now.


BOB HOPE, ENTERTAINER: It's nice to be back working for a civilian audience again. You don't laugh as easy but you don't shoot as fast either.

You know, I think Vietnam left me a little nervous. This morning my Wheaties popped and I surrendered to the maid. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: When you were growing up, was he always funny around the house?

L. HOPE: He was. Actually, I often thought that he was funnier at home than he was on his scripted programs and so on. He had a very quick wit, and my mother certainly had a wit to match, so it was a lot of laughs at our house.

COOPER: And you always knew he was funny -- I mean, from when you were a little kid?

L. HOPE: Oh, sure. We had a sense that he was some thing special because he used to create little characters for us and do jokes and let us cue him as he was getting ready to go on to Paramount and do a movie or something. And so we had a really good sense that he was some body very special.

COOPER: He must have a serious side as well to him.

L. HOPE: Well, he does have a serious side. But, you know, even when that serious side is there, there's a lot of fun and sort of a twinkle in his eye. And it's interesting to find a person that is really a relaxed human being.

COOPER: What he has done for American troops overseas in so many conflicts is nothing short of remarkable. Why was that so important to him?

L. HOPE: I think, really, it was first of all a question of laughter.

When he went out there and heard his first G.I. audience, he was hooked.

COOPER: Why? They were an easy audience?

L. HOPE: Well, they just laughed, and I think that he tailored his material so that it really touched them directly. You know, he'd get the names of the commanders and the watering holes and the local hangouts and so on, and incorporate them in his routines, and he really got to those guys and gals that were serving during World War II and it began a love affair, and the audiences were never better than those G.I. audiences.

COOPER: When you...

L. HOPE: And he knew...

COOPER: Sorry. When you think about...

L. HOPE: No, I was going to...

COOPER: OK, go ahead. L. HOPE: No, I was just going to say, I think he knew that these people needed a little bit of home, and he was happy to be able to bring that to them.

COOPER: And he brought it to them remarkably well.

You know, he was really ahead of a time, and he did so many different things -- vaudeville, film, comedy, dancing -- really just about every thing. Do you think there was one thing in particular that gave him the most pleasure?

L. HOPE: Yes, I think when he had a hole-in-one on the golf course, probably, was one of the things that meant the most to him.

But seriously, though, as he would say, I think just bringing laughter to people was the thing that he was all about.

COOPER: Well, and as every body in the country knows, and around the world knows, he did that very, very well.

Linda Hope, we appreciate you joining us tonight and pass along our birthday wishes to your dad when you speak with him.

Thank you so much.

L. HOPE: Thank you. I will.


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