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For a man who played third billing to Siamese twins and trained seals, Bob Hope became the most recognized profile and talent in the world. And, in the entire history of show business, no individual traveled so far -- so often -- to entertain so many.

Hope's entertainment persona was evident in every decade of the 20th century -- from impersonating Charlie Chaplin in front of the firehouse in Cleveland in 1909, to celebrating an unprecedented 60 years with NBC in 1996

 

 

 

The fifth of seven sons, he was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, England on May 29, 1903. His English father, William Henry Hope, was a stonemason -- his Welsh mother, Avis Townes Hope, an aspiring concert singer.

In 1907, Leslie's father brought 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 US citizens. (Bob joked, "I left England at the age of four when I found out I couldn't be king.")

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