Dolores Hope celebrates her 100th birthday

May 28, 2009 6:24:26 AM PDT
"I thought it was going to be just another birthday," Dolores Hope mused as she attended a Hollywood gathering celebrating her 100 years. When her late husband, entertainer Bob Hope, reached his 100th birthday, he was too frail to enjoy it. Although Dolores Hope was brought to Wednesday night's party in a wheelchair, she was alert and happy as she greeted old friends and posed for photographs.

At 100, Dolores Hope is little changed. Her white hair is richly coifed, her skin is smooth and her voice is deep and warm.

Her 10 decades were represented by 10 kiosks set up around the long patio of the Hope estate in Toluca Lake. Each displayed elements of the time. The World War I era was represented by an ad for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1918 and pleas to "Buy More Liberty Bonds" and "Our Boys Need More Socks. Knit Your Own."

Guests included Gloria Stuart, who will be 99 on July 4; Ann Blyth; Kathyrn Crosby; and Phyllis Diller, whose trademark laugh rose about the merriment. A number of priests were in the crowd, reflective of the Hope family's devotion to the Catholic church.

Her son Kelly Hope said, "When we were at Mass today, she told me, `Turn around; you're in church.'"

She was born Dolores DeFina in New York's Harlem on May 27, 1909, and grew up in the Bronx.

"We were poor but we didn't know it," she said.

As Dolores Reade, she sang in New York nightclubs. George Murphy, Hope's co-star in the musical "Roberta," advised him to see a pretty singer at the Vogue Club. After a brief courtship, the couple were married on Feb. 19, 1934.

Bob Hope died in 2003 at age 100.

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