Dear Sun Spots: Love Sun Spots. It is so helpful. Please print an address for the family of the late Bob Hope. I would like to send them a sympathy card.

Also, do you know how to obtain videos of his movies? – No Name, No Town.

Answer:
The Toluca Lake (Calif.) Chamber of Commerce kindly advised Sun Spots that you can send your sympathies to Hope Enterprises, 3808 Riverside Drive, Suite 100, Burbank, CA 91505. You can also try e-mailing the family through the late entertainer’s e-mail address at [email protected] or at [email protected] You can purchase his videos by clicking on “Buy Videos” at the bottom of the Web site screen at www.bobhope.com or by calling (866) 305-1348.

According to his Web site, Bob Hope was the fifth of seven sons. He was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, England, on May 29, 1903. The 100-year-old died of pneumonia at his Toluca Lake home on July 27. His English father, William Henry Hope, was a stonemason and his Welsh mother, Avis Townes Hope, an aspiring concert singer. In 1907, Leslie’s father moved the family to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1920, by virtue of his father’s naturalization, “Bob” – the name by which the world would later know him – and his brothers became U.S. citizens. (Bob joked, “I left England at the age of 4 when I found out I couldn’t be king.”)

At 18, Bob persuaded his girlfriend, Mildred Rosequist, to become his dance partner. Appearing at nearby vaudeville houses, they worked their way up to the princely wage of $8 a night and were ready to take their show on tour. However, the curtain fell abruptly on Hope and Rosequist when Mildred’s mother finally saw the act.

Bob then teamed up with a friend, Lloyd Durbin. After developing their act in local bookings, they were hired by the Bandbox Theater in Cleveland as a “cheap act” for the Fatty Arbuckle Show. Hope later teamed with George Byrne for a tour. They polished their act and soon were playing major houses including Keith’s Flushing in New York City. Hope and Byrne then headed west to change their act and start over. They secured a three-day date in a tiny theater in New Castle, Pa. On opening night, Bob was asked to announce the coming attractions to the theater audiences. Encouraged by the audience responses and the theater manager, Bob enlarged his introduction routine to five minutes. At the conclusion of the three-day engagement, Bob became a “single.”

Hope’s first major recognition, by critics and the public, came in 1933 for his wisecracking role as Huckleberry Haines in the highly successful Broadway musical “Roberta.” Bob’s personal life changed during “Roberta.” One of his fellow performers in the musical, George Murphy, introduced him to a young singer, Dolores Reade, then appearing at the Vogue Club on 57th Street. After a brief courtship, the couple married in February 1934. They have four children: Linda, Anthony, Nora, and Kelly; and four grandchildren.

You may also be interested in trying Bob’s favorite pie, lemon meringue, especially as made the way his mother (Mahm) used to make it. The following recipe has been printed in nearly every newspaper in every town Bob has performed in and in at least 100 “celebrity” cookbooks.

(As many as 12 pies would show up at Bob’s hotel when he was on tour.)

Mahm’s Lemon Meringue Pie. Ingredients: 1 8-inch pie shell, baked; 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar; 3 tablespoons cornstarch; 1 cup boiling water; 4 egg yolks (save the whites); 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; 2 tablespoons butter; pinch of salt; grated rind of one lemon.

Method: Combine cornstarch and sugar, slowly add boiling water, stirring constantly until thick and smooth, over low heat. Add and stir slightly beaten egg yolks, lemon juice, butter, salt and grated rind. Return to low heat. Stir and cook 5 minutes. Cool. Pour into baked pie shell. Make meringue from 3 egg whites, beaten stiff with 2½ teaspoons sugar. Lightly spread on pie and bake 15 minutes in 350 degree oven, until meringue is lightly browned.

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