Bob Hope’s Daughter Reflects on His Letters to Service Members on Veterans Day

by Maria Hartfield

Legendary actor and comedian Bob Hope will be remembered for a lifetime for his many accomplishments. Most especially, his love for his country. Over his 80-year career, Hope entertained American servicemen and women both at home and overseas.

In an interview with Fox News, prolific author Marth Bolton spoke fondly of the famed entertainer.

“At the height of [WWII] Bob Hope was receiving 38,000 letters a week,” she said. “And these weren’t ordinary fan letters. These were letters written to their buddy, their pal, their dad, meaning Bob Hope. And it was just this connection that he had with the guys that went far beyond any kind of a celebrity fan connection. It was like family. They were his family… They were his closest family.”

Bolton once wrote jokes for Hope. A comedy writer and playwright, Bolton was Hope’s first female staff writer.

Hope’s daughter Linda and Bolton worked together to write a book consolidating the proud patriots’ many personal letters, postcards, and packages sent from friends in the service. The book titled, Dear Bob: Bob Hope’s Wartime Correspondence with the G.I.s of World War II came out earlier this year.

“I found it very moving to re-read these letters again,” Linda said about the project. “… I was reminded of the scope of dad’s involvement with the men and women he entertained, here at home and abroad.  It reinforced the reality of how those relationships really affected his entire life.”

Bolton Reflects on Hope’s Adoration For Veterans

In the interview with Fox News, Bolton talks about the inspiration behind the release of Dear Bob.

“We actually started working on it when Bob was alive,” she recalls. “I had come across the letters he received from G.I.’s over the years and I was just so overwhelmed by its historical significance. I thought they also gave a look inside his heart. And there was so much there. There were funny letters, but also moving letters. It spanned the whole human experience. And it really showed Bob’s relationship with the G.I.’s.”

Bolton remembers asking Bob if he would ever consider putting the letters together for a book to which he agreed.

“But he also said that they were so close to his heart that he didn’t know if he could get through them again,” she continued. “So he suggested that Linda and I work on it. And we did.”

Bob Hope Wanted to Provide Hope

In an ode to our veterans, Bolton ended the interview by saying this:

“…In life, there may be times where we feel like we’re sacrificing something. We could be stuck in traffic or the air conditioner went out on a really hot day. That’s nothing compared to what these men and women gave up and continue to do so. Bob once said, “I saw your son and your husband, your brother and your sweetheart. I saw how they worked, played, fought and live, [and how] some of them die. I saw more courage, more good humor in the face of discomfort, more love… and more devotion to duty…”

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