BOB HOPE: Portrait of a Superstar by Charles Thompson

BOB HOPE: Portrait of a Superstar

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KIRKUS REVIEW

More a long press release than a real biography, this tribute is written by a ""close friend and associate of the star""--a British PR-man who is often obviously writing for Hope's British fans in particular. No clichÉ is too tired for Thompson: Chapter 3 ends: ""But the bright lights of Broadway were beckoning."" And the very last lines of Chapters 6, 7, and 8 may have achieved a new low in celebrity-biography pallor: ""They urgently required Bob to hit the road"". . . ""In the meantime, he had to hit the road with his radio show"". . . ""it was time to hit the road to Europe."" Furthermore, Thompson is less than scrupulous with facts: the victim in the Fatty Arbuckle case, starlet Virginia Rappe, is casually identified as an unnamed prostitute; Bob is given dubious credit for introducing ""Smoke Gets in Your Eyes""; etc. Still, for adoring fans unfazed by sub-literacy or inaccuracy, the basic Hope story is all here--with quotes from friends, colleagues, and Bob himself: British birth, vaudeville beginnings on the road, New York revues and Broadway musicals, radio, Hollywood, USO tours, and television. There's a chapter on the Vietnam period, with Bob ""deeply wounded by the growing rejection amongst his beloved servicemen."" (""Time has brought a more realistic appraisal of his role in America's longest and most controversial war."") There are chapters on his wealth (downplayed) and generosity (""suggestions of tightness are wholly refuted by friends and staff alike""); on his home life, his golfing, his writers (with interpolated jokes throughout). A gushing puff job with a provincial British accent--likely to have limited appeal even for the most devoted American fans.

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1981
Publisher: St. Martin's