Although regarded as an American patriot, he was born in London, England, but grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where his father, a stonemason, had emigrated. As a young man, he worked as a newspaper reporter, and later, as a prizefighter. He hung up the gloves when he "was not only being carried out of the ring, but into the ring", in favor of the seemingly brighter career as a vaudeville dancer earning $8 a night.
He discovered a talent for cracking jokes, which he parlayed into a career as a comic, a talent which he put to use by entertaining the soldiers of his adoptive country during World War 2, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm, bringing laughter even into the valley of death.
In 1997, the United States Congress made him the only ever "Honorary Veteran" for his services to the nation. The United States Navy named an entire class of 60,000 ton TAKR vessels after him, fifteen ships altogether. Not to be outdone, the country of his birth invested him as Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire (KBE). And when finally he could no longer walk the stage, he recorded telephone greeting messages for hospitals whose work he wished to support. Asked who might like to live to be a hundred, he replied, "anyone who is 99". He turns a century today, March 29th, 2003.
Happy Birthday, Bob Hope.