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Monday, 18 May, 1998, 06:50 GMT 07:50 UK
Knighthood for Bob Hope
Bob Hope with his wife Dolores
Bob Hope with his wife Dolores, after being awarded the KBE
The American comedian Bob Hope, 94, has received an honorary knighthood at the British Embassy in Washington.

He was accompanied by his wife Dolores as he accepted the honour from the British ambassador to the US, Sir Christopher Meyer.

The knighthood is in recognition of his work entertaining troops in several wars, including the 1990 Gulf War.

Mr Hope will not be able to use the title Sir, but will be able to use the initials KBE - Knight of the British Empire - after his name.

Mr Hope, probably the world's oldest working comedian, made his name in vaudeville theatre and radio, before embarking on the famous 'Road' films with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamur.

More often than not, he played the comic coward who made good in the end.

As a stand-up comedian, he delivered lame wise-cracks, bad puns and limp insults with perfect comic timing.

Entertaining the troops

During World War II, Mr Hope took his show to American forces around the world, touring in Europe, Africa and the Pacific.

He later performed in Vietnam and during the Gulf War.

The comedian's wealth is estimated at more than $500m, and he is said to have raised more for charity than any other American.

Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, South London, in 1903, the son of a stonemason and a singer.

In 1907, the family, which included seven sons, emigrated to the US and settled in Cleveland, Ohio. Bob Hope worked as a butcher's delivery boy and a shoe salesman, before entering the entertainment world as a dancer.

Mr Hope joins a number of Americans with close ties to Britain who have been knighted. They include former Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Gulf War Commander Norman Schwarzkopf.

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