Hope at 100

Day of celebration ahead

A 'very frail' Bob Hope is preparing to celebrate his 100th birthday tomorrow.

Congratulations have been sent by President Bush and the Queen,and celebrations will include the release of 101 balloons from his home in California.

Los Angeles's famous Hollywood and Vine junction will be renamed Bob Hope Square in his honour, and Second World War planes will perform a fly-past during the ceremony. The city yesterday named Hope Citizen Of The Century, too.

And at least 35 states are to proclaim May 29 as Bob Hope Day.

Broadcast tributes include a special on BBC1 on Saturday, a CNN Larry King Live interview with Hope's wife of 69 years Dolores, and several dedicated strands on cable TV stations.

Though his sight and hearing are fading fast, Hope is still said to be in good spirits.

His publicist said: "In the last couple of weeks he told Dolores, 'I'm so old they've cancelled my blood group'."

Hope was born in Eltham, south London, but became America's most popular comedian, known especially for his work boosting troops' morale.

Published: 28 May 2003

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