Dolores Hope Celebrates an Incredible 100 Years – Where There’s Hope, There’s Life
The life of the party for the 100th birthday celebration of Dolores Hope was Dolores herself. In person and on a heart-stopping display of her hopeful life, decade by decade, from the 20’s through today.
A huge bouquet of 100 white balloons with ivy sprigs sailed over Toluca Lake on May 27th’s late afternoon. The remarkable turnout of 100 (plus) friends included Phyllis Diller, Larry Gelbart, Kathryn and Mary Crosby, Robert Osborne, Norm Crosby, Ann Blythe, Gloria Stuart and many more.
The guests could amble by the gorgeous gardens where, in one park-like area, there were classic cars from every decade of Dolores Hope’s life. Round tables with beautiful bouquets were scattered about the lovely grounds for relaxation and reunions. Lovely cards were available to write a private birthday wish.
A series of kiosk coverings (40 diameter hexagons) had been set up for the guests to enjoy a trip through the “Ten Decades of Dolores.” Each kiosk featured a unique display of her amazing life. The first four had audio presentations, with video and film clips from their private archives in the last seven. (That would make a good DVD!) Lisa Mitchell and Nancy Malone designed the kiosks, and each one shimmered into life with handsome couples costumed in the era of that decade (by Warden Neil, who did the costumes for all of Bob’s shows in the later years). The many layered birthday cake kept to the decade theme, and a little sign made of pink roses spelled out 100.
The Hopes’ son Kelly and daughter Linda were beaming with pride for their magnificent mother. Linda mentioned being 100 to Dolores and she replied, “I’ve been working on it for a long time.” Linda was thrilled with the collage concept and thought perhaps the favorite decades for Delores may have been the 30’s and 40’s, when she and their dad (Bob) met and started their family. And Kelly said that when they were at Mass that morning, “Momma” told him (three times), not to help her up. They both agree that “home” is Toluca Lake, that’s where she and their dad lived most of their married life. “They laughed a lot, that’s responsible for so much of their happiness.”
Dolores married her husband Bob when he was starting his career on Broadway and radio. The marriage lasted 69 years, until his death in 2003. They raised four children and managed to entertain the troops and sing on many of Bob’s NBC specials. She has been accorded many honors during her life, the most recent being the Patty Berg Award by the Ladies Professional Golfers Association, an honor she treasures as an avid golfer. She also is an active member of her church and supporter of many humanitarian causes.
We all feel thanks for the shared laughter and of course, the memories. Friday, May 29th would have been Bob’s birthday, and is the day that the US Postal service released the Bob Hope stamp. What a great birthday present from the United States of America!