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Dolores and Bob Hope | Source: Getty Images
Dolores and Bob Hope | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope Was Either Bigamist or Lied About His 69-Years Marriage – Inside His Private Life

Daniella Segell
Jan 17, 2024
11:00 A.M.
  • 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.
  • Some details about Bob's marriage paint a different picture from what he portrayed.
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Bob Hope circa 1950 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope circa 1950 | Source: Getty Images

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.

Bob Hope circa 1942 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope circa 1942 | Source: Getty Images

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In addition to the bigamy rumor, Bob cheated on his wife constantly. There were many famous women among the women he had dated. On September 19, 2011, Dolores DeFina Hope, the wife of the late legendary comedian Bob Hope, died. She was a singer and philanthropist who died of natural causes at 102.

Bob Hope circa 1942 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope circa 1942 | Source: Getty Images

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, and 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 circa 1990 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope and Dolores Hope circa 1990 | Source: Getty Images

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Dolores 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. George introduced him to a beautiful woman whose stage name was Dolores Reade.

Bob Hope and Dolores Hope at a party on May 17, 1989 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope and Dolores Hope at a party on May 17, 1989 | Source: Getty Images

Father Benedict Groeschel said Dolores's Italian-American father was also a singer-waiter. Benedict 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 Paramount Studios on  March 1, 1947 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope and Dolores Hope at Paramount Studios on March 1, 1947 | Source: Getty Images

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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?'"

Dolores Hope sings for crowd in a musical tribute to her husband circa 1981 | Source: Getty Images

Dolores Hope sings for crowd in a musical tribute to her husband circa 1981 | Source: Getty Images

Bob pursued Dolores avidly, but her mother was unhappy because he kept Dolores out till 6 a.m. They got married a few months later, and his friend Lucille Ball said that was the smartest thing Bob ever did.

Lucille Ball and Bob Hope on "Bob Hope's April Special" in 1984 | Source: Getty Images

Lucille Ball and Bob Hope on "Bob Hope's April Special" in 1984 | Source: Getty Images

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Bob and Dolores Hope as the grand marshalls of the 75th Anniversary of the Toluca Lake Parade in 1998 | Source: Getty Images

Bob and Dolores Hope as the grand marshalls of the 75th Anniversary of the Toluca Lake Parade in 1998 | Source: Getty Images

Due to Dolores's mother not liking Bob for not being catholic, she did everything to discourage their romance. When Dolores traveled for shows, her mother was happy about the distance.

Bob and Dolores Hope with their niece and nephew at a screening of Bob's film 'Eight on the Run' in 1967 | Source: Getty Images

Bob and Dolores Hope with their niece and nephew at a screening of Bob's film 'Eight on the Run' in 1967 | Source: Getty Images

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However, the couple still talked to each other on the phone nearly every day. However, the couple almost broke up when Dolores read gossip in the newspapers. Publications at the time 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."

Portrait of Bob Hope | Source: Getty Images

Portrait of Bob Hope | Source: Getty Images

They married on February 19, 1934; she joined his vaudeville show and moved to Los Angeles. They were together until he died on July 27, 2003. However, there was speculation about whether the pair was really married.

Photo of Bob Hope and Dolores Hope on February 22, 1934 | Source: Getty Images

Photo of Bob Hope and Dolores Hope on February 22, 1934 | Source: Getty Images

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The Mysteries Surrounding Bob Hope's Marriage to Dolores

It turned out that the columnist's story about Bob's possible infidelity could be a worrying sign for their fans. According to Bob's biography, written by author Richard Zoglin, Bob was married before meeting Dolores.

Bob Hope and Dolores at London's Waterloo Station on August 7, 1939 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope and Dolores at London's Waterloo Station on August 7, 1939 | Source: Getty Images

His first wife was his former vaudeville partner, Louise Troxell. They 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.

Dolores Hope at the  Bob Hope Hollywood USO at Los Angeles International Airport in 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Dolores Hope at the Bob Hope Hollywood USO at Los Angeles International Airport in 2001 | Source: Getty Images

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When Arthur Marx, an author, unearthed the license, Bob's publicists claimed that Bob and Louise never married. However, an official confirmed that the marriage license would not exist if they did not go through with the wedding.

He was either married to both women at once or did not wed his second wife.

Although Bob and Louise's relationship lasted only a short time, he apparently sent her money without many people knowing throughout the years. She passed away in 1976 at 65.

Bob Hope and Dolores at an event circa 1955 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope and Dolores at an event circa 1955 | Source: Getty Images

Also, there is a mystery behind Bob's marriage to Dolores, as they claimed to have married in Pennsylvania on February 19, 1934. But, there was no news about their marriage, no reports, no photographs, and no marriage license.

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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 at the 5th Annual Academy of Television & Radio Awards in 1989 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope at the 5th Annual Academy of Television & Radio Awards in 1989 | 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.

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 occurred in a New York church.

Bob Hope and Dolores Hope at the Warner Theatre in London on September 15, 1961 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope and Dolores Hope at the Warner Theatre in London on September 15, 1961 | Source: Getty Images

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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 those 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

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-Decade Marriage

Bob's marriage to Dolores lasted 69 years and was one of the longest show-business marriages. However, he always broke her heart with his many affairs. Bob said:

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"I'm no angel. I've known very few angels."

Photo of Bob Hope at the White House during the Carter administration | Source: Getty Images

Photo of Bob Hope at the White House during the Carter administration | Source: Getty Images

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. Bob claimed to have had a brief romantic fling with Doris Day while touring together in 1949. However, Doris never made any comments about the alleged affair.

Bob Hope and Vanna White at the "Bob Hope's Easter Special" taping in 1987 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope and Vanna White at the "Bob Hope's Easter Special" taping in 1987 | Source: Getty Images

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In the spring of 1949, he started an affair with the femme fatale Barbara Payton, which lasted for several months. He allegedly paid her off to keep it quiet when it ended, but she sold her story in 1956.

Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell at the Prince of Wales Theatre circa 1951 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell at the Prince of Wales Theatre circa 1951 | Source: Getty Images

From 1950 to 1954, Bob dated the actress and singer Marilyn Maxwell. Their relationship was not a secret to those who worked with him. 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 nearly 30 years.

Bob Hope celebrating his 100th birthday at his Palm Springs, California home in 2003 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope celebrating his 100th birthday at his Palm Springs, California home in 2003 | Source: Getty Images

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In the 1980s, Sandy Vinger, a writer, became Bob Hope's frequent companion and last 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.

Bob Hope and Gonzo the Muppet at the Elstree Studios in London, December 5th 1977 | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope and Gonzo the Muppet at the Elstree Studios in London, December 5th 1977 | Source: Getty Images

Bob and Dolores expanded their family and had four children. One of his daughters talked about his affairs and her mother's knowledge of them during their marriage. Bob's daughter said:

"I'm sure my mother knew what was going on. And she just decided that he was worth going through whatever she had to go through, to have the life and be Mrs. Bob Hope. But I don't think any of the [other women] had the significance to him that she did and the family did."

However, Dolores never let on that she knew about her husband's affairs. She even put it down to publications printing whatever they wanted, but she thought her husband was just an average man.

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