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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
Hope misses century party
Hope was honoured on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
A plaque was placed next to one of Hope's four Hollywood stars
Stars gathered to celebrate Bob Hope's new title of Hollywood "citizen of the century" on Tuesday ahead of his 100th birthday in May.

But the comic legend himself was not there because of health problems.

Friends and followers including Frasier star Kelsey Grammer, Hope's co-star Phyllis Diller and comedian Dennis Miller turned up for the ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Hope, who has grown increasingly frail, was told to stay at home by doctors.

His daughter, Linda, was there in his place to thank admirers.

No one will ever touch Bob Hope's history in our business
Phyllis Diller
He told her: "The doctors are keeping me down here but my heart is with them."

A bronze plaque bearing his new title was unveiled next to one of his four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Hope, who rose to fame in the 1930s, was one of the United States' most popular television, film and radio personalities of the last century.

He is also known for entertaining US troops in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf war.

"We all know that Bob Hope is a great talent, humanitarian, honorary veteran and a supporter of America's armed forces," Hollywood's honorary mayor Johnny Grant said.

Bob Hope and his wife Dolores
Hope and wife Dolores will be watching TV on his birthday
Diller, who appeared alongside Hope in the 1960s, said: "No one will ever touch Bob Hope's history in our business."

Grammer, who plays Frasier Crane in the hit sitcom, also paid tribute, saying: "I have great admiration for the man."

Veteran actress Connie Stevens said Hope "really loved America".

"He should have 50 stars, a stamp and a day in his name," she said.

Linda Hope told the ceremony: "It's such a touching thing for me to hear these words from all these people."

Her father would enjoy a quiet birthday on 29 May, she said.

"I think we will be watching the television because there will be things all over the country honouring him," she said.

Born in London in 1903, he emigrated to the US at the age of four.

Name's legacy

The Walk of Fame recognition coincided with the release of the Bob Hope 100th Birthday DVD Tribute Collection box-set.

Other anniversary celebrations are planned elsewhere in the US on his birthday, with a number of streets and buildings around the country to be named after the entertainer.

The intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street will be named Bob Hope Square.

A reception will be held at the Bob Hope Gallery of Entertainment at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Streets will be named after him in Toluca Lake and Cleveland, where he grew up.

Ill health

And the Cleveland Indians basesball side will celebrate Bob Hope Day at Jacob's Field.

In recent years, Hope has withdrawn for the public eye. He spends his time at his Toluca Lake golf estate, near Universal Studios.

He has also suffered bouts of ill health in recent years and has been in hospital with pneumonia.

Hope's legacy as a comic film actor and entertainer is still going strong.

He is remembered for his string of films with Bing Crosby and screen siren Dorothy Lamour, as well as his latter-day TV work.

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