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CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: Ben, Jen: Behind the Scenes, King of Comedy: Bob Hope

Aired August 2, 2003 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, they're Hollywood's hottest couple: Jenny from the block and her sexiest man alive.

PETER CASTRO, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: What sexier couple exists out there right now?

ANNOUNCER: He's the Boston bred movie star who caught the acting bug early.

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: Hi, I'm Ben Affleck.

ANNOUNCER: She came from the Bronx and danced her way to superstardom. Now the movie where their love story began hits theaters.

JENNIFER LOPEZ, ACTRESS: It means you're not my type. Good night.

There has been so much pressure on us. I feel, like, just forget about all of that stuff. That is a lie! See?

ANNOUNCER: Can their high voltage star power overcome some truly dreadful reviews?

LOPEZ: What is it you're so sad about?

ANNOUNCER: The stars of "Gigli" and the story behind their relationship. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

And later, he was the great American performer.

BOB HOPE, COMEDIAN: I just want you boys to see what you're fighting for, that's all.

ANNOUNCER: Wielding his wit on stage and screen.

HOPE: We're off to the road to Morocco.

BING CROSBY, ACTOR/MUSICIAN: We're off on the road to Morocco.

ANNOUNCER: And making a country roar with laughter through most of the 20th Century.

PHYLLIS DILLER, COMEDIENNE: He's the big one-liner expert. Set up, pay off, that's it. One-liner, joke, gag.

ANNOUNCER: An immigrant who wise cracked his way into the national fabric, Bob Hope, from war zones to the airwaves, life on the road.

HOPE: Everything is going up at home, prices, taxes and miniskirts.

ANNOUNCER: Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi. Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn.

They're everywhere you look. On newsstands, on TV, in theaters. Jen and Ben, Lopez and Affleck, Hollywood's hottest superstar romance.

But will their off-screen passion heat up the big screen? "Gigli," the film that brought J. Lo and Ben together opened nationwide this weekend. And as moviegoers weigh in at the box office, a look at the lives, loves and careers of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

Here's Kyra Phillips.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since the early days of motion pictures, it seems Americans have had a love affair with celebrities and their love affairs. And now the country has fallen once again head over heels, madly in love with the latest couple du jour, Ben and Jen.

CASTRO: They're the biggest couple in the world now. They are the only game in town. It's Jennifer and Ben.

PHILLIPS: After going public with their romance, more than a year ago, the media blitz surrounding Ben Affleck and fiancee Jennifer Lopez rages on.

LARRY SUTTON, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: The media is always looking for attractive young people who capture our imagination. And in the case of Ben and J. Lo, you've got it. So when the two come together, it's a terrific story.

AFFLECK: If you want to, you can, you know, take half of my bed.

PHILLIPS: The power couple hopes to turn the buzz into box office dollars with their first movie together, "Gigli."

AFFLECK: Hello.

PHILLIPS: But can the romance survive the film's ugly reviews?

The "Wall Street Journal" says "Gigli" is "the worst movie of our admittedly young century."

And the "Atlanta Journal Constitution" writes "'Gigli' makes 'Hudson Hawk' look like a hiccup, 'Ishtar' like a minor misstep." UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Action.

PHILLIPS: Will their fans ignore the critics or has the hype around their high profile romance undermined their new movie?

AFFLECK: I think it will be a shame if people are paying attention to the movie going, like, is this real, don't they do this in real life? I think that just is too bad.

LOPEZ: I just hope that people can go in there and kind of forget that for a second and really see the movie for what it is, a smart, funny, you know, high jinx comedy drama that really takes you on an interesting journey.

PHILLIPS: The journey of one half of Bennifer began in Berkeley, California. He was born Benjamin Geza Affleck on August 15, 1972. And while his birth certificate reads California, he will always be claimed Boston's native son.

SUTTON: Ben Affleck probably had one of the most normal upbringings you could think of for a movie star. His mom was a schoolteacher. His dad worked as a school janitor. He worked for maintenance in the school system.

AFFLECK: Hi, I'm Ben Affleck.

PHILLIPS: Affleck was bit by the acting bug early in life. At 8 years old, the bowl haired Ben landed his first role starring as C.T. Granville in the PBS educational series "The Voyage of the Mimi."

SUTTON: I think Ben Affleck probably got the acting bug from his father. Because although he couldn't really make a living acting as an actor, he still tried his best.

PHILLIPS: But in 1984, his 12-year-old world would be shattered. His parents, Tim and Chris Affleck, filed for divorce. Tim Affleck, who was battling alcoholism, moved back to California, leaving Ben and younger brother Casey to be raised by their mother.

SUTTON: I think it's difficult for any 12-year-old when your mother and your father break up. It wasn't just a simple divorce. His father went cross-country out to California.

PHILLIPS: Continuing his early work as an actor, he landed a role on a 1986 ABC After School Special called "Wanted: A Perfect Man."

AFFLECK: Hello?

PHILLIPS: In the late '80s, Ben honed his acting chops. He was cast in commercials for Burger King and starred in award winning theater productions at his high school, Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

And it was in these hallways and on this stage that Ben would solidify a friendship that would pay huge dividends down the road. SUTTON: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon met as kids. When they were in high school, I think Ben was probably the big dreamer, the schemer. Matt Damon was probably more of a hard working guy, but was Ben, I think, who said come on, one day, we're going to Hollywood.

PHILLIPS: After leaving high school and spending a few semesters in college, Affleck went to Hollywood, quickly landing a television series called "Against the Grain."

He also took bit roles in movies like "School Ties" and "Dazed and Confused."

LAURA RAPOSA, "BOSTON HERALD": When you first saw Ben Affleck, he was a supporting actor. He was sort of this big, imposing, slightly pudgy guy who often played a meanie.

PHILLIPS: But it would not be until he and his best friend Matt Damon sat down and wrote a script that Hollywood would really take notice and a legendary tale would be born.

AFFLECK: In 20 years, if you're still living here, coming over to my house, watching the Patriots games, still working construction, I'll (EXPLETIVE) kill you.

RAPOSA: "Good Will Hunting" was an incredible script, you know. And Miramax at the time bought it, $600,000. We knew they were pretty big. But nobody in town did. They weren't household names. Like other people in Boston.

PHILLIPS: Two-hundred and twenty-five million dollars later, Affleck and Damon were household names around the globe. And come Oscar time, best original screenplay nominations rang out for the childhood buddies.

RAPOSA: How could voters not go for it? Here are these two guys, they're both kind of the hot young stars of Hollywood, they've written this script. The movie has done well. They're young, they're personable. They're cute, give them the Oscar.

PHILLIPS: At 25 years old, Ben Affleck was now a member of Hollywood's elite.

AFFLECK: Oscar, Oscar!

PHILLIPS: With his pick of scripts, the next would be the 1998 summer blockbuster "Armageddon."

It was about this time that Hollywood's hunky heartthrob started dating another hot young star, Gwyneth Paltrow. While people were clamoring over the young couple, they seemed an odd match.

SUTTON: Ben is very much a down to earth guy. Gwyneth Paltrow, I think, cares a little bit more about her image.

PHILLIPS: Ben and Gwyn would be on and off for awhile. But eventually the couple would bounce on to new relationships. But Ben's penchant for casinos, late nights and drinking caused him to step back and re-evaluate his life. In August 2001, he checked himself into an alcohol rehab, a preemptive measure on Affleck's part, according to a press release.

RAPOSA: I think he wanted it known that he was trying to get help and he was trying to better himself. And I think people applaud that.

SUTTON: You have to remember his father was an alcoholic. His father successfully checked himself into a program and has remained sober ever since. And Ben just saw that he was getting perhaps a little too wild.

PHILLIPS: When our story continues, she came from the Bronx and launched a multimedia frenzy. The story of Jennifer Lopez.

And later, that chin, those curves, that diamond, Ben and Jen become Hollywood royalty.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN DIVEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): She's been dubbed the ultimate triple threat. A supernova, a super diva, an entertainment machine.

LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: This girl works it. She wants to be a movie star. She's willing to do whatever it takes to be a movie star. She's got the singing career. She's got the clothing line. She's got the perfume. She is making hay while the sun shines.

PHILLIPS: And now it seems she's getting back to her roots. No longer J. Lo, she's Jenny. And as her latest album professes...

LOPEZ (singing): I'm still Jenny from the block.

PHILLIPS: Jenny from the block will always remember where she came from.

DAVID WILD, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE": No one handed her superstardom. She pulled it, you know? She snatched it from the jaws of defeat.

PHILLIPS: Here is a tale of a powerful ambition. We begin our story on the block where it all began.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black Rock and Castle Hill, J. Lo's block.

PHILLIPS: She was born Jennifer Lynn Lopez, on July 24, 1970, in the Bronx. And for 18 years, her home was here at 2210 Black Rock avenue.

LOPEZ: It is not like, you know, Fort Apache, like everybody thinks. I grew up in a house, believe it or not. In a very nice neighborhood. I went to school across the street. It was a nice neighborhood, a very mixed neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She used to come to get her pizza almost every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My cousin, right, he went out with her around right here.

PHILLIPS: The middle of three sisters, her parents were Puerto Rican. Her mother, Guadalupe, taught school. Her father, David, worked with computers. Money came and went. But one thing always remained.

CASTRO: Music and dance were always a really important part of her life. Jennifer, her sisters and her mom would watch musicals on TV, listen to records, Broadway, salsa. I mean, she had a very varied artistic education at home. She watched "West Side Story," you know, ad infinitum.

PHILLIPS: By 1987, with 12 years of dance and a high school diploma under her belt, she set her sights on New York City. Already a fixture at local dance clubs, she dreamed of making money off her moves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I used to see Jennifer Lopez a lot in the Bronx. And she was always catching attention. She was always dancing very beautiful at times. And everybody wanted to talk to her.

PHILLIPS: With her nose pressed against the window of the number six subway train, she watched the Bronx disappear. A semester of college and two years of dance followed, but auditions went nowhere.

Until 1990, she was 20 years old and handpicked out of 2,000 dancers for a sexy slot on a Fox comedy show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): "In Living Color."

CASTRO: I remember watching "In Living Color" and thinking, "Wow, that girl is really hot." And she was, you know, she's like -- you know, boundless energy, you know. I mean, she really upstaged everybody.

PHILLIPS: Including the show's choreographer, actress Rosie Perez. Reports say the two fought fiercely. Two seasons later, Lopez flew the coop.

Truth be told, she craved the spotlight, and following a brief 1993 appearance in a Janet Jackson video...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ready?

LOPEZ: Yes. PHILLIPS: ... the dancer moved into acting, quietly landing forgettable TV work. There was the CBS series "Second Chances."

LOPEZ: Your parents hate me.

PHILLIPS: And 1994's "Hotel Malibu."

LOPEZ: I did not get this job because of my legs. I don't even know who Jack Mayfield is.

PHILLIPS: But the little screen wasn't big enough for the Bronx bombshell. And in 1995, at the age of 25, Jennifer Lopez made her big screen debut.

"Mi Familia" wasn't a tremendous success but it did get her noticed. From there, she went on, of course, to "Selena," which was really the first big J. Lo moment.

ROZEN: This is the role that any actress with an ounce of Hispanic blood in her wanted. And she won it.

LOPEZ: Really all I want to do with this is to do a good job and make everybody proud and give Selena her justice.

PHILLIPS: And in March 1997, she did just that. "Selena" opened to glowing reviews.

LOPEZ: Even though this is hard work, this is it. It doesn't get any better than this.

PHILLIPS: And the actress was glowing herself. Just one month prior to the film's release, she had married for the very first time.

CASTRO: The story goes that she's, you know in a Miami restaurant, and Ojani Noah is the waiter. He comes over, takes the order, walks away and she turns to her friend and says, "That guy is beautiful. One day I'm going to marry that guy."

PHILLIPS: But the honeymoon was short lived. The couple quickly drifted apart. One year later in 1998, the credits rolled on their year-long marriage.

Her career, however, was flourishing, from red carpets to behind the scenes. Jennifer Lopez was fast becoming Hollywood's new "it" girl. Opposite George Clooney "Out of Sight" brought her to the A- list.

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: Hi.

PHILLIPS: The film's junket also brought front and center a decidingly tightlipped star.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything you want to tell us about your love life?

LOPEZ: No. PHILLIPS: She was silent for a reason. Reports were linking her to then married music mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs. Their romance wouldn't be announced until the following year, just in time for the debut of Jennifer Lopez, pop star.

WILD: I think "On the 6" just surprised people because actress makes album. It's an old story, and it's usually a pretty bleak one. And yet, it had a couple of great hits.

PHILLIPS: Two number one singles. Endless music videos.

LOPEZ (singing): Waiting for tonight.

WILD: They're hot.

PHILLIPS: And one gravity defying green dress later...

LOPEZ: Versace. I saw the color of it, and I had to have this dress.

PHILLIPS: ... Jennifer Lopez, superstar, had arrived. With the producing help of Combs, "On the 6" went triple platinum. P. Diddy and his soon to be J. Lo were now the toast of the town.

CASTRO: It was an interesting match, you know. And as a result, a lot of fireworks happened.

PHILLIPS: Those fireworks turned into gunplay on November 27, 1999.

SEAN COMBS, MUSICIAN: I had nothing to do with a shooting in this club.

PHILLIPS: It was a headline-making story. Shots in a New York nightclub and the arrest of Sean Combs. Questioned for 14 hours and released, girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. The media circled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's over. And she's completely exonerated.

PHILLIPS: Combs was later found not guilty. But the damage to the relationship was done.

CASTRO: The fact that she spent all that time in that police precinct after the gunplay in that nightclub, it was just, you know, "I'm out of here."

PHILLIPS: Coming up, Jen and Ben mania.

AFFLECK: Do we know each other?

LOPEZ: Not yet.

PHILLIPS: As "Gigli" hits the big screen.

ROZEN: A lot of people are laying bets on just how long will this last. (END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): After the breakup of her high profile and headline grabbing relationship with Sean "Puffy" Combs, the Jennifer Lopez machine just kept on going.

And in January 2001, a historic first: "The Wedding Planner" opened at number one, just as her sophomore album, "J. Lo," nabbed the number one spot on Billboard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call it Jennifer Lopez week.

LOPEZ: OK. The week of J. Lo.

PHILLIPS: What was also making headlines was her whirlwind relationship with Cris Judd, a backup dancer for the video "Love Don't Cost a Thing."

The buff Judd, it seemed, was anything but Puffy.

CASTRO: Cris Judd is from a town called Niceville in Florida. I mean, I'm not making that up. It's like out of central casting.

PHILLIPS: Judd and J. Lo's romance was barely made public when wedding bells were ringing. The couple married just three months after meeting.

CASTRO: She needs just to be coddled and taken care of and that's what he was. And he fit the role perfectly.

PHILLIPS: Following the honeymoon, Mrs. Judd went back to business. She quickly signed on to play a female gangster in "Gigli," sharing the lead billing, fellow actor Ben Affleck.

SUTTON: He was smitten with her immediately. I think as close as love at first sight as you can get.

PHILLIPS: It may have been love for Affleck, but a hurdle still remained in the form of Cris Judd. Mild flirtation between the two, including flowers sent by Affleck, was in evidence at the opening of J. Lo's new restaurant, Madre, on April 15, 2002.

Shortly after the opening she filed for divorce. J. Lo's marriage had lasted 108 days.

CASTRO: Poor Cris Judd. He's just a simple guy from Florida, you know. And she doesn't want to be with a simple guy from Florida. She wants -- I think she needs a fellow superstar.

PHILLIPS: While Affleck has said in interviews that he had nothing do with the breakup, he waited quietly in the wings for Lopez.

SUTTON: Once she broke up with her husband, he moved right in and the results are what you see today.

PHILLIPS: The new lovebirds made their relationship public before the ink had dried on the diva's divorce papers. And the media spotlight honed in on the sexy new power couple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ever try to conceal that relationship? Or do you to find it impossible?

LOPEZ: We're not trying to do anything except be two people in love.

PHILLIPS: In late 2002, the couple went back to work and cashed in on the buzz. Affleck played a superhero in "Daredevil." And Lopez doubled her pleasure again. Her movie, "Maid in Manhattan," was her highest growing film to date. She also released her third album, "This is Me Then," in November.

LOPEZ (singing): Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got. I'm still Jenny from the Block

PHILLIPS: This fall, things heated up even further when "Jenny from the block" became Jenny with the rock.

RAPOSA: Apparently Ben is really a romantic. He had candles on the stairs and rose petals on the floor. And read Jennifer this letter, and then gave her a 6 carat pink diamond engagement ring from Harry Winston.

PHILLIPS: News of the engagement became fodder for late night talk shows and led to questions from the media. Would Ben and Jen crash and burn like so many other Hollywood romances?

ROZEN: There is some question. I mean, I think a lot of people are laying bets on just how long will this last? Will they ever get married? How long will it last?

PHILLIPS: Both Affleck and Lopez, like so many other couples, have been trying to change each other for the better. Ben has become a slave to fashion, thanks in part to Lopez.

CASTRO: She has completely, what I like to call J. Loed him, you know, turned him into this hunk stud and it's her doing. I mean, she's given him a complete makeover.

PHILLIPS: For Jen it was a makeover of a different sort, trying to change her diva-like image. Rumors had circulated about Lopez's demanding ways; claims were made about requirements concerning room temperature, bottles of Evian, white flowers, white dressing rooms and 400 thread count bed sheets.

CASTRO: Well, you get demanding when you become a star and a celebrity. I'm sure Joey Lawrence on "Blossom" was demanding in his hay day. PHILLIPS: Lopez decided to take her career in a new direction when she fired and filed suit against long time manager Benny Medina in June.

CASTRO: This diva thing was working against her and it was Ben, some people say, who interfered and said, "Enough of this. You've got to get rid of this guy. He's making you look like a diva and it's not cool."

PHILLIPS: Medina has issued a statement saying, "Jennifer Lopez, by making false allegations against me, is now trying to add me to the long list of people whom she has used and discarded after she took from them all she could get. I will defend myself against these lies and will collect from her every dollar for which I am owed."

Her decision to fire Medina came after filming wrapped up on the set of "Gigli." Formerly titled "Tough Love," the comedy caper has gotten tough criticism from the get-go.

ROZEN: If there was one movie this summer that everyone thinks the stench is smellable two months ahead of time, it would be "Gigli."

LOPEZ: Every relationship has an account, huh?

AFFLECK: That's right.

PHILLIPS: Critics weighing in this week have been brutal.

But for now, we all wonder, will this love story have a Hollywood ending?

RAPOSA: Will Bennifer last? You tend to wonder. Although, you know, she seems to be with Ben probably longer than she was married to Cris Judd.

CASTRO: I wouldn't be surprised if they get married, get divorced, and get married again, you know? They're the new Liz and Dick, right?

ZAHN: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez will be back together on screen next year in the new movie "Jersey Girl."

ANNOUNCER: Coming up on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, remembering Bob Hope on stage, on film...

HOPE: Boy, can you kiss!

ANNOUNCER: And on the front lines.

HOPE: I had sand in places where I didn't even know I had places.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

He was the king of comedy, an icon whose good-natured one-liners entertained us for seven decades. Bob Hope's death this week at age of 100 left many of us wondering if we will ever see another talent like his. Certainly not another career, from Vaudeville to Hollywood, from film to foxholes, a look back now at a century of laughs.

Here is Judy Woodruff.

BOB HOPE, COMEDIAN: The Supreme Court ruled no more praying in school. From now on the kids have to study to get good marks.

I played golf with President Ford many times. I'm not only a friend, but I'm one of the survivors.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bob Hope was a comic who entertained in every medium. And his mission was to hear the sound of laughter.

HOPE: A lot of the other shows were held up because of the writer strike. Fortunately I have never had to depend on writers. No, wait a minute. Those white cards you see flipping in front of me are part of the air conditioning.

ALAN KING, COMEDIAN: Bob Hope made you laugh. Whether it was on the Palace stage, whether it was in a motion picture, radio or television, or the Guadalcanal.

HOPE: Nice to be here today, better known a Guadalcanal East. Welcome.

WOODRUFF: Whether you knew him from radio...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bob, why are men so crazy about sweater girls?

HOPE: I don't know, Judy. That's one mystery I'd like to unravel.

WOODRUFF: ...the road movies, TV specials or his USO tours...

HOPE: I just want you boys to see what you're fighting for, that's all.

WOODRUFF: ... he was a welcome guest in every living room. A part of the American family.

STEVE ALLEN, COMEDIAN: He's clearly been America's favorite comedian for decades. There's a sense in which he has come to seem part of the national furniture.

WOODRUFF: A friend once said Bob wasn't born, he was woven by Betsy Ross. But actually this American icon was born in England in 1903.

Named Leslie Townes Hope, he spent his early childhood here in suburban London.

One of seven brothers, young Bob craved attention and learned he could get it by making people laugh. He was doing impressions by the time he was 4.

Still, there wasn't a lot to laugh about at the Hope household. His father, a stonemason with a drinking problem, was chronically unemployed. In 1907, the family joined the wave of immigrants heading to America in search of a better life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bob was always very proud to be from England, you know? And I tell you his joke that he used to say, he left England because he didn't think he could ever be king. But then he could go across the channel and become queen. Do you remember that?

WOODRUFF: But there was nothing regal about Hope's childhood in Cleveland, Ohio.

He wasn't a great student, dropped out of school at 16, and spent most of his time hanging out with friends and working odd jobs to help out with the bills. He even took a jab at professional boxing.

PHYLLIS DILLER, COMEDIENNE: He worked under the name Packy East and spent most of the time on his back. And that's probably responsible for the wonderful nose, which served him well all his life, old ski nose.

HOPE: I boxed under the name of Rembrandt Hope, I was on the canvas so much. And I would have won the last fight but the referee stepped on my hand.

LARRY KING, TALK SHOW HOST: Were you good? Seriously, were you good?

HOPE: Fair. Fair. Fair. My last fight, a guy hit me so hard, I bounced right into dancing school.

WOODRUFF: Turns out he was a much better dancer than he was a boxer. And it wasn't long before he and his first dance partner, Mildred Rosequist, we performing local theaters.

HOPE: I was working with a girl in Cleveland. And I wanted to take her on the road. And I went, I said, "I want to take Mildred on the road."

And her mother said, "I'll have to see the act."

And she came out and saw the act and she said, "My daughter is not going on the road in that act."

WOODRUFF: So Hope found a new partner, a friend named George Burn. And they hit the road with a traveling vaudeville troupe.

But his big break finally came as a joke-telling emcee in a Chicago show. Soon after, he landed a chorus role in a Broadway musical. That's when he met his future wife Dolores.

HOPE: First time I heard of her, I was in a show in New York called "Roberta." And George Murphy and I went out one night after the show.

He says, "You want to hear a pretty girl sing?"

And I said, "Yes."

He took me over to the Bowl Club (ph) and Dolores stepped out and started singing. Uh-huh. I said, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Got to see more of this.

WOODRUFF: Dolores and Bob were married soon after. She continued to perform. But it was Bob's career that really took off. Now his name was in lights along the Great White Way.

His success on Broadway led to another big break as a guest emcee on a 1935 radio show. That performance would start a new chapter in his career.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight we also have a surprise for you, a new master of ceremonies, Bob Hope.

HOPE: This is the voice of inexperience, Bob Hope, conducting the Bromer Seltzer (ph) intimate review.

WOODRUFF: That voice of inexperience would soon dominate the airwaves and turn Bob Hope into a household name.

HOPE: How do you do, ladies and gentlemen? This is Bob Hope. No, no, not yet, Charlie. But don't leave.

WOODRUFF: When we return, Bob Hope performs thousands of miles away in front of audiences that never bought tickets for a show.

HOPE: Thank you, colonel. Thank you very much. Very happy to be here. Where the hell are we?

JOHNNY GRANT, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: Bob Hope to me was the spirit and heart of America during World War II.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

HOPE: I think Vietnam left me a little nervous. This morning my Wheaties popped and I surrendered to the maid.

WOODRUFF: For most of the 20th century, Bob Hope was the king of comedy. This, of course, is how we remember him best.

HOPE: Hi, ladies and gentlemen, nice to be here with the 2nd Infantry Division at the DMZ.

WOODRUFF: During World War II, Hope performed almost 400 radio shows in front of throngs of G.I.'s all over the world. It was patriotic work and Hope's popularity soared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On his way from a five-week tour in England, Hope and his group landed in North Africa to entertain the allied troops.

HOPE: Thank you, colonel. Thank you very much. Very happy to be here. Where the hell are we?

GRANT: Bob Hope to me was the spirit and heart of America during World War II. I mean, he was everywhere. He kept us going.

HOPE: Are we winning?

WOODRUFF: Four years of almost nonstop touring during World War II had transformed Hope into America's favorite entertainer. The success inevitably led him to the new medium of television.

HOPE: Television, well, they finally got me.

WOODRUFF: But Hope never forgot what had become a core following, America's servicemen and women. He took the TV show on the road to entertain troops stationed abroad as the Cold War took hold and erupted in conflict in Korea.

HOPE: Ladies and gentlemen, here we are in Seoul, Korea. It's wonderful to be working here near the 38th Parallel. I don't know how close this is to Russia, but the guys in the last three rows are drinking hot borscht.

WOODRUFF: Bob Hope's USO tours became a holiday tradition.

GERALD FORD, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Anybody who was in the military -- and I was in for four years -- really appreciates what a contribution Bob did for the morale of our fighting men and women on a global basis.

WOODRUFF: Whenever Bob Hope turned up, the troops were thrilled to see him. And that reinforced his image at home. Until Vietnam.

HOPE: Nice to be here in Nanking. Nice spot. Keep the motor running, huh?

WOODRUFF: As protests against the war grew, Hope continued to entertain G.I.'s in dangerous places.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, let's hear it for him, Bob Hope!

WOODRUFF: But he was becoming the entertainment world's poster boy for an unwinnable war.

BOB THOMAS, WRITER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: That was the only time in his career, I think, when he was really out of the general public's acclaim and good wishes.

WOODRUFF: Years later, he reminisced with Larry King.

L. KING: You nearly got killed once, right?

HOPE: I nearly got killed a few times.

L. KING: Vietnam?

HOPE: Yes. I nearly got killed. They blew up the hotel five minutes before we got there. At the Brinks Hotel and general seaman of 1st Division, after the captain of the rubber plantation found some documents and sent me one that said, the bombing, it said to him, the bombing of the brinks hotel, missed the Bob Hope show by five minutes due to a faulty timing device.

They didn't know that we were held up at the airport, waiting for the cue cards.

WOODRUFF: Bob Hope would not only be remembered for time spent on the road with the troops...

HOPE (singing): We're off on the road to Morocco.

BING CROSBY, SINGER/ACTOR (singing): We're off on the road to Morocco.

WOODRUFF: ... there were also the seven road trips he took with his buddy Bing Crosby.

Hope's film debut, "The Big Broadcast of 1938" is remembered only for this, the Oscar-winning song that became his signature.

HOPE (singing): Thanks for the memories, of rainy afternoons, swingy Harlem tunes, motor trips and burning lips and burning toast and prunes."

CROSBY: Jackie, look!

WOODRUFF: What we remember from the 60 or so films that followed were the escapades of the two legends, from Morocco to Singapore to Hong Kong, the comic and the crooner proved a durable film duo.

LARRY GELBART, WRITER: Hope and Crosby met very early in Bob's career in Hollywood and they took to each other immediately.

Actually I think Bob brought out the humor in Bing. Bing wasn't known as a funny guy until he started working with Bob.

WOODRUFF: Bing's widow Kathryn says it began at a fancy dinner he hosted.

KATHERYN CROSBY, BING CROSBY'S WIDOW: One day particularly Bing invited all the heads of Paramount Pictures there. And they started singing and dancing and clowning around as they had, and that's how the road shows were born. CROSBY: Wait a minute. The apparel. The apparel.

HOPE: Please, the material.

WOODRUFF: In the early '40s, Hope was among Hollywood's top ten moneymaking stars.

And in 1945, when Paramount announced the end of the road movies, 75,000 angry fans wrote letters of protest. The studio soon backed off, making three more road films.

Hope and Crosby shared their lives off screen, as well, in oil fields and golf games.

LINDA HOPE, BOB HOPE'S DAUGHTER: Dad and Bing used to, of course, sneak out to the golf course any moment they could.

FORD: According to stories, Bing was about a stroke or two better than Bob. I'm sure Bob wouldn't admit that, but that's what the inside scoop is.

WOODRUFF: Hope's love for Crosby was apparent. When Bing died in 1977, it was one of the rare times in Hope's career that he canceled an engagement.

L. HOPE: When Bing died, I remember dad was absolutely devastated. And -- because it was sudden. And in fact, I think that was probably one of the very few times he ever backed out of a date that he had agreed to do. But he just couldn't deal with it.

WOODRUFF: For 22 years, the ad-libs of Hope and Crosby brought laughter to us all.

When we return, Bob Hope and the memories we won't forget.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

HOPE: Would you care for the center cut?

WOODRUFF: For the Baby Boomers, Bob Hope will probably be best remembered for his cheeky but charming TV one-liners.

HOPE: It's not cold. We soaked it in hot water before...

WOODRUFF: Jokes which he used to introduce his own comedy variety specials.

HOPE: Did you read the paper the other day where Nixon says he knows how to win the war in Vietnam? What a sneaky way to get Johnson's vote. WOODRUFF: Highly rated broadcasts, sometimes capturing as much as 70 percent of the viewing audience.

HOPE: Bill Perry, all 320 pounds of him. Bill tells me he was even big when he was little. Now that's big, he's even bigger.

WOODRUFF: And in 1996, when he completed a 60-year contract with NBC, Hope declared himself a free agent. For the better part of the last century, on the stage, the radio, the movie screen and television, Bob Hope has been America's reigning smart aleck.

HOPE: Senator McCarthy, he didn't see much at the game. He spent seven innings chasing the vendor saying, who was yelling, "Here you are. Get your red hots here."

DILLER: You know, he's the big one-liner expert. Set up, pay off, that's it. One liner, joke, gag.

HOPE: 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.

WOODRUFF: Some say his biggest contribution to American comedy is the classic Bob Hope monologue.

HOPE: For you easterners an earthquake may or may not be easy to visualize. But about the best way I can describe it, have you ever seen a range of mountains doing the funky chicken?

GARY MARSHALL, COMEDIAN: His contribution to art of comedy is the monologue.

WOODRUFF: It was a crackling barrage of jokes.

HOPE: My ZIP code changed three times and I was still in bed. That was really tremendous. My milkman delivered three quarts of whipped cream.

WOODRUFF: Six or seven jokes a minute.

HOPE: The good news is you can now get gas. The bad news is no one can afford it.

I see that the Beatles have arrived by plane from England. They were 40 pounds overweight and that was just their hair.

L. HOPE: You could actually almost see the energy leaping back and forth between the audience and Dad.

DAVE THOMAS, WRITER: And they're, like, stopping laughing so they could hear the next gag.

HOPE: Please. No, let's get it all together for a big thing later. No, I...

WOODRUFF: A comic style which Hope spent years polishing.

HOPE: You know, your seams are crooked.

MILTON BERLE, COMEDIAN: That shows how much you know. I'm not wearing stockings.

WOODRUFF: Hope had his own team of gag writers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got some new writers for you. I picked them out myself.

HOPE: I can't use them. There's no more room on the bus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you kidding?

DILLER: Nobody could write that many jokes. He always had eight of the top writers in the world.

HOPE: Everything is going up at home, prices, taxes and miniskirts.

WOODRUFF: What he was an entertainer who knew how to make people happy.

HOPE: Nice watch you're got (ph).

GELBART: A good sharp one-liner, sharp but not barbed. Bob never drew blood with his jokes.

WOODRUFF: He was part of a world which believed in the self-made man. From his immigrant roots, he successfully remade himself into a rich and famous American icon and friend to America's wealthiest and most powerful people.

KING: He's got more medals than McArthur and probably more deserving.

HOPE (singing): Thanks for the memories of sentimental verse, nothing in my purse.

WOODRUFF: If you believe that laughter is the best medicine, you won't find any better proof than the long, very long and happy life led by Bob Hope.

HOPE (singing): Cheerio, tootaloo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Thank you.

HOPE: Thank you so much.

ZAHN: Bob Hope liked to joke that if he had his life to live over, he wouldn't have the time. An understatement to be sure.

That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us. We hope you'll be back with us next week.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



Comedy: Bob Hope>


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