Day in History 27 July – Bob Hope – Gertrude Stein

On this day in 2003, legendary comedian, actor, humanitarian, the first and only honorary veteran of the U.S. armed forces, American Icon, Bob Hope died at his home in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles at the age of 100.  Born Leslie Townes Hope 29 May 1903 in Eltham, London.  Hope appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies.  Perhaps his best known films are the “Road” series of films featuring Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.  He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel.  Hope entertained troops during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the third phase of the Lebanon Civil War, the latter years of the Iran–Iraq War, and the 1990–1991 Persian Gulf War.  Of Hope’s USO shows in World War II, writer John Steinbeck, who was then working as a war correspondent, wrote in 1943:

When the time for recognition of service to the nation in wartime comes to be considered, Bob Hope should be high on the list. This man drives himself and is driven. It is impossible to see how he can do so much, can cover so much ground, can work so hard, and can be so effective. He works month after month at a pace that would kill most people.”

Hope hosted the Academy Awards ceremony 18 times.  He married twice; Grace Louise Troxell (1933-1934 divorce) and Dolores Reade (1934-2003 his death).  Hope’s signature song was “Thanks for the Memory” ( music composed by Ralph Rainger and lyrics by Leo Robin).  Indeed, thanks for the memories Mr. Hope.  The Final Footprint – Reportedly when Hope was asked on his deathbed where he wanted to be buried he told his wife, “Surprise me.”  Hope is entombed in The Bob Hope Memorial Garden at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery in Los Angeles.  Other notable final footprints at SFMC include: Walter Brennan; Chuck Connors; the parents of Francis Ford Coppola, Carmine and Italia Coppola; Ritchie Valens; Jane Wyatt.

Gertrude_Stein_1935-01-04On this day in 1946, art collector of seminal modernist paintings and an experimental writer of novels, poetry and plays, Gertrude Stein died at the age of 72 from stomach cancer in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.  Born on February 3, 1874, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.  Raised in Oakland, California, Stein moved to Paris in 1903, making France her home for the remainder of her life.  For some forty years, the Stein home on the Left Bank of Paris would become a renowned Saturday evening gathering place for expatriate American artists and writers, and others noteworthy in the world of vanguard arts and letters.  Entrée and membership in the Stein salon was a sought-after validation, signifying that Stein had recognized a talent worthy of inclusion into a rarefied group of gifted artists. Stein became combination mentor, critic, and guru to those who gathered around her.  A self-defined “genius”, she was described as an imposing figure with a commanding manner whose inordinate self-confidence could intimidate.  Among her coterie she was referred to as “Le Stein” and with less laudatory deference as “The Presence”.  Stein met her life partner Alice B. Toklas on 8 September 1907, on Toklas’ first day in Paris.  In 1933, Stein published the memoirs of her Paris years titled The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which became a literary bestseller.  The advent of this book elevated Stein from the relative obscurity of cult literary figure, into the light of mainstream attention.  Gertrude_Stein's_gravestoneThe Final Footprint – Stein was interred in Paris in Père Lachaise Cemetery.  When Stein was being wheeled into the operating room for surgery on her stomach, she asked Toklas, “What is the answer?”  When Toklas did not reply, Stein said, “In that case, what is the question?”  There is a monument to Stein on the Upper Terrace of Bryant Park, New York.  Other notable Final Footprints at Père Lachaise include; Georges Bizet, Honoré de Balzac, Jean-Dominique Bauby, Maria Callas, Frédéric Chopin, Colette, Auguste Comte, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Molière, Jim Morrison, Édith Piaf, Camille Pissarro, Marcel Proust, Sully Prudhomme, Gioachino Rossini, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Alice B. Toklas,  Oscar Wilde, and Richard Wright.

Have you planned yours yet?

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