Pret-a-Reporter

8 Decades of The Hollywood Reporter

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The most glamorous and memorable moments from a storied history.

Dolores Reade had Bob Hope hooked the moment he heard her sing "It's Only a Paper Moon." In 1933, the 30-year-old comedian was in Roberta, his first Broadway starring role. George Murphy, also in the cast and a future U.S. senator, suggested he visit the Vogue Club on West 57th Street and "hear a pretty girl sing." Hope returned night after night and married the 24-year-old within a year. (This would be the second time she changed her name. She was born Dolores DeFina in Harlem in 1909 -- Reade was for the stage.) She quit singing in nightclubs and moved to California when Hope's film career took off. Together, they adopted four children and during 69 years of marriage built a family estate estimated to be worth $500 million. "She loved to play gin," remembers close friend Phyllis Diller. "Here is this rich, rich woman with her little gin box with her winnings, and she's guarding it with her life. Playing gin and martinis -- she loved them both." Her married life was characterized by a devotion to family, her husband's constant travels and USO tours and her Catholic faith. She became known as the "first lady of the USO." Her last public singing appearance was in 1997, when she performed with Rosemary Clooney in Manhattan. The New York Times review said Dolores was "remarkably agile, big-voiced." She died Sept. 19 at 102 in the Toluca Lake house she bought with her husband in 1940.

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