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Tribute to Bob Hope

Aired July 28, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Bob Hope, entertainment legend, comedy icon, American patriot is dead at age 100. We say thanks for the memories with actress Jane Russell, Bob Hope's co-star in "Paleface"; entertainer Connie Stevens, a veteran of Bob Hope's USO shows and TV specials; Art Linkletter, Bob Hope's long-time pal and sometime business partner; Wayne Newton, Mr. Las Vegas, chairman of the USO Celebrity Circle; funny lady Phyllis Diller, Bob Hope's co- star in three movies and a member of his USO tour family; show business legend Mickey Rooney. He co-starred with Bob Hope in the movie "Off Limits." Actress and best-selling author Shirley MacLaine. Unlike Bob Hope, she has won an Oscar for acting. And Nancy Sinatra, loving memories of the man she called Uncle Bob. Plus, we'll hear from former first lady Nancy Reagan. She says losing Bob Hope is like losing a member of the family. All that next on LARRY KING LIVE.

And we start with Jane Russell. She's at Santa Maria, California, her home. She co-starred with Bob Hope in "The Paleface," "Son of Paleface," did a cameo appearance in "Road to Bali."

What was it like to work with him, Jane?

JANE RUSSELL, ACTRESS: Oh, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven because the first two pictures I had to do were so long and complicated, and when I got to do "Paleface" with Bob, it was just wonderful. We did one take. And if there was a terrible mistake, we would take two and that's all. And he was a doll to work with. See this?

KING: Yes, I sure do. So he was fun -- he was fun to work with after you had done two difficult movies.

RUSSELL: Oh, he was a ball. Just had a ball.

KING: And Art Linkletter, how long did you know Bob Hope?

ART LINKLETTER, ENTERTAINER: About 40 years. Of course, I never made a movie with him, but I did a lot of inaugurals for presidents because we were a member of a very tiny minority here in Hollywood. We were Republicans.


LINKLETTER: We also were different in another way than most people in Hollywood. We were married to the same lady for over 65 years, not the same ladies. And that's something different.

KING: Were you in business with him?

LINKLETTER: Yes, and I was in business with him in real estate. We owned theaters. We owned a radio station. And I traveled with him...

KING: Was he the richest man in Hollywood or richest performer?

LINKLETTER: He was one of the richest. Gene Autrey was another one. And I was in real estate business with Bob, and he had a very peculiar thing. Whenever we had property all ready to sell, somebody wanted to buy it, he'd say, Wait a minute. He knows something we don't know. Don't sell it. I finally said, Bob, we got to sell it or I can't buy anything more.


LINKLETTER: And of course, the other thing about it was that both of us had a very strong feeling about humor and material being clean. We always played to the family, and I don't think Bob and I know I didn't ever say anything on a big stage that would embarrass or call for an apology.

KING: How good an actor was he, Jane?

RUSSELL: I beg your pardon.

KING: How good an actor was he?

RUSSELL: Oh! Are you kidding? He was great! He could do anything. This is from "Son of Paleface." We did two of them. In the first one, he sang to me. And in the second one, I sang to him. He was terrific.

KING: He did a lot of work with, of course, the troops, right? You remember that, of course, going overseas.

LINKLETTER: Yes. Yes, because I was over there, too, doing other kinds of entertainment. I was entertaining the wives of servicemen and officers because I had a show called -- a special every year called "The Military Wife of the Year." And so Bob and I would meet in London or Frankfurt or Clark Air Force Base. He'd be entertaining the troops. I had the ladies.

KING: Not too bad.

LINKLETTER: Not too bad. But you know, Bob could be naughty. He didn't -- he wasn't vulgar or anything. I remember the worst introduction I ever had in my life, and he gave it to me in fun -- 5,000 people out in Bakersfield, and Bob said, Folks, I've got to go -- he was on first -- and Art Linkletter is on next, and the fun is pretty well over.

(LAUGHTER) LINKLETTER: He said, Now, I'm not being mean because Art's a good guy. But he's working under a handicap. He was a Baptist preacher's kid. And he said, And Baptists don't have much fun. As a matter of fact, he said, they never make love standing up for fear they'll be accused of dancing.


KING: Connie Stevens now joins us now from Las Vegas. Connie is a good friend of Bob Hope's. She did USO tours with Bob, traveling to Vietnam, Berlin, Italy, Turkey, Thailand, Taiwan and Guam. Also in Las Vegas is Wayne Newton, another good friend of Hope's. And he's chairman of the USO Celebrity Circle. Bob Hope was the USO's ambassador of good will.

Connie, what are your memories? What was it like to tour with him?

CONNIE STEVENS, ACTRESS: Oh, he was -- he never tired. He was the most amazing man. He would take these 10-minute cat naps, sometimes with his eyes open, and he would put everybody to shame. Every young person was all worn out, and there was Bob, going up and down the -- Come on, let's play cards. Let's do something. He was an amazing force. He really was.

KING: How did he get you to tour with him?

STEVENS: He actually came to the house one time with Mort and a bunch of guys and said, You got to do this. This is something that you have to do in life. And I'm grateful to him because I -- it wasn't something that I planned on doing, and after so many years of doing it with him, I realized that I could serve my country and give back some of that love and comfort that those guys give us.

KING: And Wayne Newton, how far back did you go with Hope?

WAYNE NEWTON, ENTERTAINER: I actually go back to the days that I was the opening act for Mr. Jack Benny, and I met Mr. Hope then at a show called "The Cher Show." So that would have been 25, 30 years ago.

KING: And now you're involved -- you kind of replaced him with the USO, right?

NEWTON: Well, there is no replacing Mr. Hope ever, in any form or fashion. But he called me, as did the USO, and asked if I would take over the chairmanship of the Celebrity Circle about three-and-a- half years ago, which I was very honored to have been asked.

KING: In one of my interviews with Bob Hope, I asked him how he got involved with the USO. Here's what he said.


How did you start to do the thing with servicemen? How did that come about? BOB HOPE, ENTERAINTER: Well, that was in -- I think I got it in the book. But I was doing radio at Sunset and Vine, and the producer, Al Capstein (ph), said, They want you down in March (ph) Field. I said, What's that? He said, That's an Air Force base in Riverside. And I said, Well, what for? I didn't know anything about any -- there was no war. It was March -- it was May 6, 1941. I found myself on a bus with Jerry Colonna (ph), Francis Langford (ph), Sidney Ennis (ph) and the band. And now, the audience was sensational. And I said, How long has this been going on, you know? So the next week, we went down to Camp Pendleton and San Diego Naval Base and kept going in -- and of course, in December, war was declared. Then it became dramatic. We went on for five years all over the world, five solid years entertaining troops.


KING: Connie, what was special about entertaining troops?

STEVENS: They gave you more than you ever, ever gave them. They really did. They were so grateful. And I think that we represented home, family. And I think that it brought out the best in us. I think that we were better entertainers for it, and we realized the great gift that we were given in life to be able to do that. I went to the Persian Gulf with them, and there's a funny story about that. I said, Bob, I can't spend another Christmas away from home. I have two little girls. And he said, Well, don't you think it's about time we break them in? And I said, I won't go without them. And he said, Let's go. And I took my daughter, who turned 19 on the Okinawa, and Joely Fisher (ph), who was 20. We went to the Persian Gulf together.

KING: We'll take a break. We'll be right back with Jane Russell, Connie Stevens, Art Linkletter and Wayne Newton. We'll also be including your phone calls later. Phyllis Diller, Mickey Rooney and Nancy Sinatra will be joining us. Don't go away.




WILLIAM BENDIX: Maybe we can still catch that Bob Hope picture.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you'll have to hurry. The show starts at 9:00 o'clock.

BENDIX: At 9:00 o'clock? I haven't got time to take a bath. I'll take a shower.


KING: With William Bendix in a great scene. Woody Allen said that Bob Hope may have been the best screen comedian of them all.

Joining us by now phone is the former first lady of the United States, Nancy Reagan. Are you there, Nancy? NANCY REAGAN, FORMER FIRST LADY: I'm here.

KING: When -- did you know Bob Hope from your days before -- before Sacramento and Washington?

REAGAN: I'm not sure if I knew him before Sacramento or not. I certainly knew him during the Sacramento days and then on.

KING: What was he like as a friend?

REAGAN: Oh, well first of all, Bob will never be replaced. He's one of a kind, and there's just never going to be another Bob Hope. But he was so dear. And Art, I think, mentioned it on your program a little bit earlier. He was so funny and really so funny. And even today, you watch him and it's funny. But nothing dirty, nothing off- color. And it's -- you know, I think we should all learn from that.

KING: Did your husband appreciate when he poked fun at him?

REAGAN: Oh, sure. I mean, it was in fun, and we all knew that. But the last -- you know, the last few years, it's been rough.

KING: Did you get to see him later in life?

REAGAN: Oh, yes. We gave him the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award in '97 at the library. And then we had -- and he played golf with Ronnie on Ronnie's 85th birthday at the LA Country Club. And then we saw Dolores at the library because we had an exhibit of "Bob Hope, American Patriot." And you went into that exhibit and you heard his voice and you saw, you know, all the different scenes, the pictures. It was just wonderful.

KING: Isn't it harder and harder, Nancy, to see all these legends leaving us?

REAGAN: It certainly is. It certainly is. I don't like it at all.

KING: Aging is not a fun thing.

REAGAN: No, it's not, Larry. No, it is not.

KING: He made it to 100, though, and that was no small shakes.

REAGAN: Yes, he did. And he gave us a lot of joy and a lot of wonderful memories.

KING: And what, in your opinion -- before you leave us -- did he give the country?

REAGAN: Oh, well he gave them a feeling of patriotism, of course, and of feeling good about themselves and about the country. And it was just all good. I'm not saying that very well, but I know what I mean. I hope you know what I mean.

KING: I know what you mean, too. Thank you, Nancy. Thanks for sharing your memories.

REAGAN: You're welcome.

KING: The former first lady, Nancy Reagan.

Wayne Newton, what's your big memory about Bob Hope?

NEWTON: I received a letter from Mr. Hope about three years ago, four years ago. He had come in to see my show. Mr. Hope. It always irritated him tremendously when I would call him that. And he sent me a letter and he said, Dear Injun (ph), which is what he always called me. Dear Injun, he said, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your show, said some very nice things. And he said, Now I can admit, after you have taken over the USO chairmanship, that I have always been envious of singers because you guys can sing a song 100 times and people want to hear it 101. He said, Let me give you some of my old jokes and see how well you do.


KING: That's a pretty good line. Jane, did you see him much after you did films with him?

RUSSELL: Yes, I would see him -- I'd see them at home, at birthday parties and things like that. And always, Republican presidents, as they were coming in, would be at the house and have -- they'd have parties and everything. He was -- I never got to travel overseas with him, but I did a lot of shows in the '40s with him in the States -- Army, Navy, Marines, everything, on the air -- you know, down in San Diego and all over the country.

KING: Was he fun to be with, Art?

LINKLETTER: Yes, he was a lot of fun. And of course, as they've all indicated, he was always ready for a laugh or devising something. He was in love with show business. He loved to appear. I never saw a microphone or a camera that he wasn't in love with.

One time, Lois and Dolores and Bob and I were walking down a big, big office building in Washington during a Nixon inaugural, and we were all talking. Bob was on my right and the two girls were on my left. And I turned to say hello to Bob, and he was gone. I said, Where'd he go? And Dolores said, Look for a camera somewhere. You'll find him.


LINKLETTER: And I looked down this long hall, and about 35 feet away, there were lights on and he was walking. He didn't say good- bye. He just turned as we were walking in another direction and vanished!


KING: Connie, did you rehearse those overseas shows, or did he just say, Go on and do your act? STEVENS: You know, he loved you if you could -- if you were a quick study, didn't he? Boy, if you could get the words and the jokes, you were his.

I have to tell you what happened last night, Larry. This is my first appearance back in Las Vegas after 14 years, and last night long about 8:30, I said, Let's catch up with our lives, and I threw this film on. And I kept cutting back to me and Bob (UNINTELLIGIBLE) growing up all through the film. And the last time, the Persian Gulf, I walked out and Bob something. And in the dark, the audience stood up last night. It was about 8:30, quarter to 9:00. Isn't that amazing? And I wanted the Hope family to know that. I wanted all of America to know that in the dark, the entire audience was standing at that particular time.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more of these guests. More panel members to follow. We thank Nancy Reagan for calling in. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE on this tribute to Bob Hope.

And tomorrow night, exclusive, Bob Hope's daughter, Linda Hope, will be with us right here in studio. Don't go away.


HOPE: You look just great.


HOPE: You do. Well, I hope I look that good when I'm your age.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take it out of the bags, fellas.

RUSSELL: Honey, I'll drive.

HOPE: Yes, you drive and I'll watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally going on your honeymoon?

HOPE: Am I! Yahoo!

HOPE: What do you want, a happy ending?


KING: Hey, Jane, I hope they used a double. That wasn't you dragging along the ground?

RUSSELL: No, darling, it was not. KING: Let's take a call for Jane Russell, Connie Stevens, Art Linkletter, Wayne Newton. Los Angeles. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Good evening, everyone.


CALLER: We hear so much about Bob Hope, the entertainer. I was wondering if the panel there can share with us some thoughts about Bob Hope, the family man. And I realize he has, I think, four kids, and I was wondering if they could share any thoughts, memories of that.

KING: Art?

LINKLETTER: I didn't know his children, but Dolores and Bob and I often talked about children because I had five and he had four. And as you know, every child is different. And we're comparing notes on how we can make our careers fit a child's existence so that they have enough meaningful time with us. He was worried about it because he was gone a lot.

KING: And Linda will be here tomorrow night. Did he talk about family much with you, Connie?

STEVENS: You know, he sure loved Dolores, I'll tell you that. And this one time -- I think we were playing the Fox Theater. And he was coming along and she was fixing two seats. And I went on stage, and when I came off, they were sitting there. They said, We're going to watch you. And they were holding hands -- holding hands after all these years! And I thought, One of these days, I'm going to have something like that.


KING: Las Vegas. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. I was wondering if anyone on the panel can tell us what Bob Hope had said his favorite movie and who his favorite co-star was.

KING: Do we know that? Does anyone know? Wayne, do you know?

NEWTON: No, sir.

RUSSELL: Bing Crosby.

NEWTON: No, sir. I don't.

RUSSELL: Bing Crosby.

NEWTON: I do know that one was Bing Crosby, yes.

KING: Jane Russell, his favorite were the "Road" pictures, right?

RUSSELL: Yes. I think he and Bing Crosby had a ball together. Even Crosby was cute and funny, you know?

KING: He was. Cincinnati. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Larry?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I'd like to know -- I guess I should address this to Mr. Linkletter. Who was Bob Hope's favorite president?

KING: Good question.

LINKLETTER: Well, he was a Republican by voting and by philosophy, but he liked all of them. He was in and out of the White House, whether it was Democrat or whether it was a Republican.

KING: Got along with Truman.


KING: Roosevelt was the first one to ask him to tour camps.


KING: But I think Reagan may have been his favorite.

LINKLETTER: I think Reagan was. And Reagan was mine.

KING: To Tampa, Florida. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. My question for the panel is what do they think Bob Hope will want to be remembered for the most, his USO tours, radio and television work or simply the work and the humor that he bestowed upon the world?

KING: Wayne?

NEWTON: I think that Mr. Hope, without a doubt, would want to be remembered for the fun and the times that he brought home to our American men and women in uniform.

KING: What do you think, Jane?

RUSSELL: I think so, too. He was really dedicated and went to a lot of very spooky places to just get together with the Army guys. And everybody in Hollywood in those days was Republican.


KING: Those days. Connie, what do you think he'll be remembered for most?

STEVENS: Well, I've often said that long after this is over and it gets quiet again, his legacy isn't about being written down, it's one on one. I have heard it from baggage handlers to doctors to dentists. They remember the joke. They remember the story. They remember the personal aside and the lift that Bob gave them when they really needed it. And that's his real legacy, I think.

KING: And Art, what do you think?

LINKLETTER: I think Bob, of course, will go down as a true patriot who was always conscious of the fact -- he came from England and I came from Canada, and we used to talk about the fact that we were better Americans than a lot of Americans because we appreciated what this country had to offer us that you don't get anywhere else.

KING: You think that would be a No. 1 thing?



KING: His patriotism.


KING: All right, Jane, we're going to ask you and Connie to hang for a while. We thank you, Art, for -- appreciate your coming aboard. We thank you, Wayne Newton. We thank Nancy Reagan for calling in. And when we come back, we'll be joined by Phyllis Diller, Mickey Rooney and Nancy Sinatra on this tribute to Bob Hope. His daughter, Linda, will be here tomorrow night. Don't go away.


HOPE: Here we are back in Vietnam. Where the 101st fights, there is Hope. You mean, When the fight starts, Hope is gone. We have quite a few Marines on board. Well, the sailors have to have someone to dance with. It's a little hot and humid here, isn't it. Hot and humid. Last night, my Right Guard got up and opened the window.




KING: Money was never your driving force, you told me once.

HOPE: Not really.

KING: It was never your goal.

HOPE: Laughs, laughs. That's all I want.

KING: Is it like a need, Bob? I mean -- you don't have a need for money. Do you still have a need to make people laugh?

HOPE: Sure. Sure I do. I like to entertain. Sure I do. That's my business, you know. As long as I feel good, I want to do that because it makes me feel good.


KING: A tribute to Bob Hope who passed away at age 100 last night here in Los Angeles.

Remaining with us in Santa Maria, California, is Jane Russell, who knew and worked would Bob Hope and co-starred with Hope in "The Pale Face" and "Son of the Pale Face." Also did a cameo appearance in "The Road to Bali."

In Las Vegas is Connie Stevens, good friend of Hope, who did USO tours with Bob, traveling to Vietnam, Berlin, Italy, Turkey, Thailand, Taiwan and Guam.

Joining us here in Los Angeles is Phyllis Diller, another close friend of Hope's who co-starred with Bob in "Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number"; "Eight on the Lam" and "The Private Navy of Sergeant O'Farrell." She also did a USO tour with Bob in Vietnam, Thailand and Guam.

Mickey Rooney, the man Laurence Olivier called "the best actor ever in America," friend and colleague of Bob Hope, co-starred with Bob in "Off Limits" and on television did Bob Hope's all-star comedy birthday party from West Point.

And also in L.A. is Nancy Sinatra, who has known Bob Hope and his family all her life. Her family lived on the same street as the Hopes when she was a child and appeared on one of Hope's television shows.

Phyllis, was your -- what's your No. 1 memory of Bob?

DILLER: Well, he was my dearest friend, my guru, my inspiration, my teacher. I adored the man. He had it all.

KING: Did he do a lot for your career?

DILLER: Oh, did he do a lot?

KING: Was he the prime...

DILLER: Yes. Yes. He simply put me way ahead of where I could have been without his help.

KING: How did he discover you?

DILLER: On television.

KING: He saw you?

DILLER: And then he came in a club and watched me bomb.

KING: Really?

DILLER: Yes, it was awful. But then that's the night he told me that I was quite good and I realized he had watched me bomb and said I was good and that was the turning point in my self esteem.

KING: Mickey, what memories come back to you?

ROONEY: Well, you might just say everything. It was such a pleasure to know Bob Hope and to work with him in two pictures, Larry, "The Military Policeman" and "Off Limits."

When we would come to work every morning, he started things off with a laugh. He'd say, "Is everybody here?" And they'd say, "Right, Bob." "Is Mickey here?" I'd say, "I'm right here, Bob." He says, "Where are you? Stand up, I can't see you." And everybody would start to laugh and he says, You know, on my way to the studio this morning and everybody sat down because they knew that Bob Hope was going to do 20 minutes.

KING: So he did lines even while filming?

ROONEY: Oh, sure, and you'd always end up with a laugh. I mean, we could finish the scene and he would always adlib the ending and everybody would laugh and they'd say, "Print it." You know, because, that was it.

KING: Now Nancy, you lived on the same block?

NANCY SINATRA, ENTERTAINER: Yes, when we moved out from New York I was a little bitty girl and the first people to welcome us to the neighborhood were the Hopes. And my mom and Dolores have been friends, good friends ever since. They were so giving and generous as neighbors.

KING: Were Frank and Bob friends?

SINATRA: Uh-huh.

KING: Never saw them much together. They never worked together, did they?

SINATRA: Yes, they did. They actually did charity things together and then they also did the movie -- my dad did a cameo in the last "Road" movie.

KING: Really?

SINATRA: Uh-huh. The one with Joan Collins. I can't think of the name. Do you know the name?

DILLER: "Road to Hong Kong," was it?

ROONEY: They were all wonderful, Nancy.


ROONEY: I can't recall.

KING: Was he like your uncle? SINATRA: Uncle Bob, absolutely, and Aunt Dolores. Yes, it was -- growing up in Hollywood as kids we had extended families. We really did. It was Uncle Dean and Uncle Sammy and Uncle Bob and -- you know, and that's how I knew him. I got to work with him once, though. I did his TV series. I did one of the shows and it great. It was so much fun. He was great fun. He never forgot about me.


SINATRA: And he always looked after me and he called me about going on one of his USO tours and I was working and I couldn't get away. I said, But what can I do? Help me. I want to do something, He said, talk to the guy at the USO. So I called the guy and we set it up and I started working for the USO, as well. He was a great influence.

KING: Jane, when was the last time you saw him?

RUSSELL: Oh, it was when they gave -- Elizabeth Taylor was handing him an award and he had ex-President Ford on one arm and the governor of California, Wilson, on the other arm.

KING: Connie, when was the last time you saw him?

STEVENS: I think it was Red Button's 80th birthday. And I introduced him to John McCain that night and he was thrilled. I didn't see Bob after that. But I stayed in touch.

KING: When was the last time you saw him, Phyllis?

DILLER: At his 98th birthday party.


DILLER: Yes, it was a family affair with a few close friends and it was quite exciting because Rosie Clooney and the hosts were always terribly close and Dolores and Rosie sang duets to Bob and it was heart rending.

KING: He had lost his sight.

DILLER: And hearing. But he heard them. Of course, he always knew Dolores' voice.

KING: Sure. When was the last time you saw him, Mick?

ROONEY: Well, I saw him at Billy Barty's function at Universal and he was there eating his ice cream. He loved his ice cream.

KING: That's right. He was an ice cream freak.

ROONEY: Yes, he loved it. And I'm sure the whole world is going to miss Bob Hope, but at least he gave him his name. He gave the world Hope. I think that's...

KING: Well put. ROONEY: Sums it up.

KING: When was the last time you saw him, Nancy?

SINATRA: Oh, years ago, at a party. Don't even remember now what the party was for. My mom had dinner there with the Hopes just a few weeks ago and she said she didn't get to see Bob that night, so we just assumed he wasn't doing well at that point.

KING: We assume that he died peacefully.


KING: Yes. And Linda will be here tomorrow night.

SINATRA: It was hard for them, I'm sure, to share him with the whole world all those years.


SINATRA: I know what that's all about.

ROONEY: And you know the great thing, Larry, if I might say. He never stopped. When they said you can't do it, he says, oh, yes, I can.

KING: Yes. He worked well into his 90s.

ROONEY: Loved it. And he loved it. And my wife, Jan, and I send love to the whole family.

KING: He is probably -- there's no way, I guess, to check this -- the most decorated performer. The Medal of Freedom, the Bob Jones Award, the Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement, Emmys, citation by Congress -- the only thing he didn't get was an Academy Award.

ROONEY: Yes, I know that.

DILLER: But he did. He got an honorary.

KING: He got a special.


ROONEY: Yes, and he presented me with my...

KING: He gave you your award.

ROONEY: Right. And he would always say, Mick, when am I going to get one?

I said, "You've earned one 100 times over."

KING: Sure did.

ROONEY: You know? KING: Let me get a break and come back. We'll start including your phone calls for this group of panel as we celebrate a life, a life of Bob Hope. Don't go away.



HOPE: I got to go, I don't think I feel well.

DILLER: Remember, I'm a nurse. I've got the cure for what ails you.

HOPE: Nobody is that sick.


KING: Phyllis, you were a beauty, Phyllis. You had him going.

Let's take a call. Clovis, New Mexico. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. I have a question for Ms. Russell. I heard that Bob used to play a lot of practical jokes while on the movie set, and I was wondering if she had any fond memories.

KING: Jane?

RUSSELL: Oh, I have dozens. I have dozens. He was so relaxed. He just -- he never -- he would do things like come on the stage at the last minute, and when he was through, he would go straight out, just walk very fast. He taught me how to do that, and get in his car with the guys that had come with him, and off they would go. And he would leave us standing there with a whole bunch of autograph seekers and people that wanted pictures, and we'd be there stuck there for 40 minutes. So I told him, listen, buddy, the next time I'm coming with you and I'm going with you.

Oh, I never saw him upset about anything, but he got upset that day. He says, you'll never make it, you've got the beads on, you got -- you know. And I said, you watch me. So he takes off and I got right behind him, and I got in the car with my long beaded gown on and the earrings and everything, and I said, somebody else will get my stuff, let's go.

KING: Let's take another call. Cote St. Luc, Quebec, hello.

CALLER: Larry, my question to the panel is what should we be doing to perpetuate the memory of Bob Hope?

KING: Someone had a good -- Nancy, what do you think?

SINATRA: I absolutely know this, because I think he gave us a great gift, that no matter what your politics, no matter how you feel about a war effort, don't ever forget the people that are in harm's way. We must always support our troops, no matter where they are in this world, and we can all do that, each of us can.

KING: That will be his legacy.

SINATRA: Absolutely.

ROONEY: I think he has a lot of legacies. I was honored to be in the second world war. I'm a veteran of the second world war, and I received many trophies. But my Bronze Star is so dear to me. And...

KING: What does that have to do with Bob's legacy?

ROONEY: Well, I've gotten -- excuse me, no, I meant my Bronze Star. I think they should give Bob Hope the Medal of Honor.

KING: Congressional Medal of Honor?


DILLER: They did already.

ROONEY: They did?


KING: Connie, yeah.

STEVENS: I am involved with the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) three guys, they're veterans from the first world war, second world war, and we are going to perhaps next year at his birthday time, have -- we have the land in San Diego where we're building a memorial tribute to Bob Hope. I've been involved for over a year.

ROONEY: That's wonderful.

KING: Ed McMahon had a good idea, Phyllis.

DILLER: What did he say?

KING: Build a statue of him and it at the Kodak Center where the Academy Awards are held. Greatest emcee in the history of the Academy Awards.

DILLER: Yes, that is a great idea.

KING: Put a statue there.

DILLER: After all, this is his town.

KING: Like a statue of your dad coming to New York hopefully.

SINATRA: Oh, I wish.

KING: Rome, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Compared to today's stars, what was the secret to his long, loving marriage to Delores? KING: Phyllis?

DILLER: I guess their time apart.

KING: They were apart a lot, right?

DILLER: Yes, and they were always great to see each other. It was always like a holiday when he got home.

KING: You know, if separation is a good thing, they were separated a lot. He traveled.

DILLER: Well, they were madly in love. He often would go into balloons of beautiful talk about how when he met her and how gorgeous she was, and how that beautiful voice...

KING: She was some singer.

DILLER: ... he was carried away with love for that woman, and she with him.

KING: Houston, Texas. Hello.

CALLER: Larry, in the 1970s, the late '70s, Bob Hope toured a lot of the universities and colleges in Texas, and I'm sure throughout the United States, and I was wondering if any of your distinguished panelists were also involved in the university tours in addition to the USO tours. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) fond memories.

KING: Connie, did you ever do a university with Bob?

STEVENS: I might have done one. Penn State comes to my mind, but I didn't make a whole tour with him on that. A lot of hospitals, a lot of bases.

KING: Jane, did you ever do a university with Bob?

RUSSELL: No, it was all Army and Navy and Marines and things like that. I did a whole show in New York with him, on -- we did it for, I don't know, two weeks or something, and one of the nights I ran across the street and I was late getting there and I had my flannel nightgown on and a fur coat over it, and I went running in and he was about to introduce me on stage. And I opened my coat, and the side of the, you know, from the side and he saw it and he went, oh, OK. And then he goes on with some more jokes.

KING: To Orillia, Ontario, hello. Hello.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I just wanted to ask real quick if there was ever a time that any of his casts during his tours in USO came in harm's way of the potential danger or harm?

KING: Connie?

STEVENS: Oh, yes. Yes, well, the helicopter was landing on the stage in Da Nang, and it never reached the bottom to land. It went right back up in the air and we went flying off, and they were shelling that base that day. So we came back the next day. That's Bob.

KING: Yes, I know. He was fearless.

DILLER: They used to shut shows down if there was danger.

KING: I know.

DILLER: They would just shut down a show.

KING: We'll be back with more moments and some more phone calls on this tribute to Bob Hope. His daughter will be here tomorrow night. Don't go away.


FRANK SINATRA, ACTOR/SINGER: Since you did apologize, I won't use the joke I brought about you.

HOPE: You had a joke about me?

F. SINATRA: Yes, I was going to say that the reason that you're such a relaxed comedian is because when you sit down, so much comes to rest.

HOPE: What have you got in there, a writer?




KING: How, over the years, Mr. Hope, have you resisted the temptation for other women?

HOPE: Oh, I've had a lot of help with that. I had to have a lot of mental help with that, you know. But I wound up with Dolores all the time and, you know, that's it.

KING: How long you married?

HOPE: Fifty-two years and I've been home three weeks.



KING: Dubuque, Iowa, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Larry? KING: Yes.

CALLER: Yes, I was wondering, where can people send cards to if they want to send it to the family?

KING: I think all you have to do is write Bob Hope or the family of Bob Hope Toluca Lake, California. The postman knows. That's Toluca Lake, California. He owns the city.

Pleasanton, California, hello.

CALLER: Yes, good evening. My question is to Phyllis Diller. I was so lucky to see Phyllis Diller four years ago in concert and I wish she'd come back again.

But my question is how many grandchildren did he have and who was his favorite entertainer? Who did he like to get entertained by?

DILLER: Well, his grandchildren now, let's see, there's one, two, three, four that I know of, grandchildren and they're pretty much grown and even out of college and into life, those are the grandchildren. You know when you live to be 100, your grandchildren are old.

KING: Who was his favorite entertainer? Do you know?

DILLER: I don't know. I had no idea.

KING: Does anybody know? Connie, do you know?

STEVENS: I really think when we were in the Persian Gulf he was just so impressed with Lee Greenwood and that song that Lee did. That's when he wrote it, you know, the first...

KING: Yes.

STEVENS: He just thought he was something else. Isn't he something? Isn't he something?

KING: Do you know, Jane, who his favorite person -- entertainer was?

RUSSELL: Nope. I do not.

KING: Mickey, do you?

ROONEY: No, I don't know. I just know that he was the greatest entertainer.


KING: West Nyack, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Before my question, I would like to simply suggest that people to stop looking up to athletes, but to true men of character like Bob Hope. I'd also liked to ask the panel, how many troops, do you know, has he entertained over the years?

KING: Do we know the -- Connie, do you know the total?

STEVENS: It's millions for me, so I'm sure -- well, five decades throughout the years. That's a lot of lives that he touched.

KING: World War II, Korea.

STEVENS: Five decades.

KING: Vietnam. Military bases in peacetime. He started before World War II. Persian Gulf.

STEVENS: That's right.

KING: He started before World War II broke out.

STEVENS: Korea. Korea.

KING: Korea. Did you ever do any of those tours?

ROONEY: No, but I was in the U.S. service.

KING: You were in the service.

ROONEY: But I was -- but after I was in the USO and then my wife, Jan, and I went out to do and to cheer the people up and we always close our show by singing "God Bless America." And we mean that and now sing "Thanks for the Memories."

KING: What a great songs. Thanks for the -- Boy, he put a stamp on that song and it gives you chills every time he sings it.

ROONEY: And Jan and I are going to sing it.

KING: Are you?

ROONEY: Yes. Sing it every show that we do.

KING: Did you tour with him?

DILLER: Yes. Often.

KING: And?

DILLER: Adored going along with him. He always was fun. He was fun.

KING: Were troops more fun to entertain?

DILLER: Well, they were the world's greatest audience. They are starved. They are starved and they love you more than you could ever get from anybody else.

KING: Chicago, hello. Chicago, hello.

CALLER: Oh, hi. Hi. I just wanted to ask up until the end of Bob's life, did he consider Bing Crosby his best friend?

KING: You know, I don't think they were that close.

ROONEY: No, it's a funny thing. As close as they were doing pictures, if you look back, Bing never entertained the troops. And I think that bothered Bob.

KING: It also bothered Bob that I don't think he was asked to his funeral. I don't think Hope was asked to Crosby's funeral. I remember - I think he mentioned that to me that it was one of the disappointments of his life.

ROONEY: Isn't that something?

KING: He was not asked. But they were not that close.

ROONEY: So many "Road" pictures and you'd think...

KING: Yes.

ROONEY: ...that they're closeness...

KING: You'd think.

ROONEY: ...would be manmade.

KING: Asheville, North Carolina, hello.



CALLER: I'm calling to find out how Bob Hope liked touring with Lucille Ball.

KING: Did he tour with Lucille? He did movies with Lucille.

ROONEY: I don't know whether she did or..

KING: Did they ever tour, Connie?

STEVENS: I don't think so, but you know who he really loved, I thought, because he always spoke so highly of her and she was around was Dorothy Lamour. He really liked Dorothy.

KING: Yes. And he loved Jane Russell, too.

STEVENS: Yes. Yes.

KING: Well, we thank you all very much for this tribute. A reminder again and I'll come back in a little while to tell you more about what's coming up tomorrow tonight and the rest of the week -- but Linda Hope will be with us tomorrow night in a special appearance following her father's death.

And we want to thank Nancy Reagan by participating by phone. Art Linkletter and Wayne Newton in studio and then for the past portion of the program, Jane Russell, Connie Stevens -- they've been with us all the way -- Phyllis Diller, Mickey Rooney, Shirley MacLaine -- did not appear tonight. We apparently had a satellite problem with New Mexico. And, of course, the wonderful Nancy Sinatra.

As we leave you tonight -- we'll come back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow. Here's a special close to LARRY KING LIVE. Watch.


LINDA HOPE, BOB HOPE'S DAUGHTER: He really left us with a smile on his face and no really last words. I mean, we all had our little time with him and time to say good-bye and, you know, have for, you know, the last several days when we knew that it was getting close to the end.

And, you know, he just gave us each a kiss and that was it.






KING: Tomorrow night, more a look at the life and times of the late Bob Hope and a special exclusive appearance with his daughter, Linda. Linda Hope tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE. Christopher Reeve will be with us on Wednesday. Bill Maher on Thursday.


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