When Bob Hope met his wife Dolores, she sang in the club, and her voice charmed him. Soon after they met, the couple got married, and their marriage lasted for almost seven decades until his death.
There were stories and rumors that the comedian was married to someone else shortly before he married Dolores. According to some documents, he was either a bigamist or did not wed his wife, Dolores.
In addition to the bigamy rumor, Bob Hope constantly cheated on his wife. There were many famous women among the many women he had dated. Here is a look at the life of Bob Hope, his marriage, and his relationships.
Bob Hope and Dolores Hope circa 1990 | Source: Getty Images
On September 19, 2011, Dolores DeFina Hope, the wife of the late legendary comedian Bob Hope, died. She was a singer and philanthropist, and she died of natural causes at 102.
Born on May 27, 1909, the singer was married to Bob for 69 years until he died in July 2003 at 100. She died at her Toluca Lake home in Los Angeles.
They buried her next to her husband. When they were alive, their marriage faced a lot of mysteries and difficulties.
Bob Hope and Dolores Hope at Paramount Studios on March 1, 1947 | Source: Getty Images
DELORES AND BOB HOPE'S RELATIONSHIP
When Bob's co-star, George Murphy, took him to the Vogue Club on 57th Street, he did not know he would fall in love. Murphy introduced him to a beautiful woman whose stage name was Dolores Reade.
According to Father Benedict Groeschel, Dolores's Italian-American father was also a singer-waiter. Groeschel was a good friend of the Hopes who said her father was known for bustling 149th Street in the Bronx, and her mother was an irresistible Irish-American.
Bob Hope and Dolores Hope at a party on May 17, 1989 | Source: Getty Images
In his memoir "Have Tux, Will Travel: Bob Hope's Own Story," Bob wrote that he fell in love with Dolores's singing voice. He described her voice as:
"Low, husky voice… soft and sweet… 'Only a Paper Moon and Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?'"
They got married a few months later, and his friend Lucille Ball said that was the smartest thing Bob ever did. Bob pursued Dolores avidly, but her mother was not happy because he kept Dolores out till 6 a.m.
Dolores Hope sings for crowd in a musical tribute to her husband circa 1981 | Source: Getty Images
Dolores's mother did not like that Bob was not a catholic, so she did everything to discourage their romance. When Dolores traveled for shows, her mother was happy about the distance.
However, the couple still talked to each other on the phone nearly every day. The couple almost broke up when Dolores read gossip in the newspapers.
Portrait of Bob Hope | Source: Getty Images
The newspaper claimed that Bob had another girlfriend. Bob talked his way out of it and said:
"I hadn't seen that particular girl for six months, but it almost broke up our romance. It would have been finished if I hadn't convinced Dolores that the whole thing was a columnist's blooper."
They got married on February 19, 1934, she joined his vaudeville show, moved to Los Angeles, and they were together until he died on July 27, 2003.
Photo of Bob Hope and Dolores Hope on February 22, 1934 | Source: Getty Images
THE MYSTERIES SURROUNDING BOB HOPE'S MARRIAGE TO DELORES
It turned out that the columnist's story could be a worrying sign for their fans. According to Bob's biography, written by author Richard Zoglin, Bob was married before meeting Dolores.
His first wife was his former vaudeville partner Louise Troxell. They got married on January 25, 1933, in a civil ceremony with Bob's name written as Leslie T. Hope, and they described him as a salesman.
When the author, Arthur Marx, unearthed the license, Bob's publicists claimed that Bob and Troxell were never actually married. However, an official confirmed that the marriage license would not exist if they did not go through with the wedding.
Bob Hope and Dolores at London's Waterloo Station on August 7, 1939 | Source: Getty Images
Also, there is a mystery behind Bob's marriage to Dolores as they claimed to have gotten married in Pennsylvania on February 19, 1934. But, there was no news about their marriage, no reports, photographs, and no marriage license.
It became more interesting as the announcement of their engagement appeared in the magazine on August 4, 1934, with information that they would marry around thanksgiving that year.
Bob Hope and Dolores at an event circa 1955 | Source: Getty Images
But the most intriguing part is that Bob was granted a divorce from his first wife on November 19, 1934, so he could not have been legally married to Dolores if they had married in February 1934.
"I'm no angel."
Dolores and one of the guests, who claimed to have attended their wedding, said it took place around late 1934 or early 1935. The wedding guest also revealed that it took place in a New York church.
Bob Hope and Dolores Hope at the Warner Theatre in London on September 15, 1961 | Source: Getty Images
However, for a couple of years, Bob, who never missed an opportunity for self-promotion, never mentioned that he was married to the glamourous nightclub singer, adding to the strangeness of their union.
According to all that facts, the wedding never happened, or it happened while he was still married to his first wife. So he was either married to both women at once or did not wed his second wife.
Bob Hope and Dolores Hope being honored by St. Joseph Medical Center Guild on March 18, 1983 | Source: Getty Images
THE FAMOUS AFFAIRS BOB HOPE HAD IN HIS ALMOST SEVEN DECADES OF MARRIAGE
Bob's marriage to Dolores lasted for 69 years and was known as one of the longest show-business marriages. However, he always broke her heart with his many affairs. Bob said:
"I'm no angel. I've known very few angels."
There were rumors that Bob preferred one-night stands with showgirls and beauty queens to avoid the romantic entanglements with his co-stars in movies.
Photo of Bob Hope at the White House during the Carter administration | Source: Getty Images
Bob claimed to have had a brief romantic fling with Doris Day while touring together in 1949. However, Day never made any comments about the alleged affair.
In the spring of 1949, he started an affair with Barbara Payton, a femme fatale, and it lasted for several months. He allegedly paid her off to keep it quiet when it ended, but she sold her story in 1956.
From 1950 to 1954, Bob dated the actress and singer Marilyn Maxwell. Their relationship was not a secret to those that worked with him.
Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell at the Prince of Wales Theatre circa 1951 | Source: Getty Images
In 1958, he had an affair with Ursula Halloran, a member of his publicity staff. After crowning Rosemarie Frankland as the Miss World of 1961, they began an affair that lasted for nearly 30 years.
In the 1980s, Sandy Vinger, a writer, became Bob's frequent companion and lask known girlfriend. In 1994, she brought a breach-of-contract suit against him, claiming that he agreed to support her for life, but they settled the case out of court.