Celebrated American comedian Bob Hope has passed away just two months after his 100th birthday.

The THANKS FOR THE MEMORY actor celebrated his centenary on 29 May (03), but has suffered from poor health for much of the past 10 years and, after struggling with pneumonia, passed away last night (27JUL03).

Hope - who received more than 1,500 awards over the years - entertained troops in war-torn areas during every major 20th-century American conflict except the First World War.

As a performer in radio, movies and television, Hope's crisp delivery was always topical and suitable for audiences of all ages - and he even performed before 11 US presidents.

Hope's final TV performance was a celebration for his 90th birthday in 1993, and since then his health deteriorated so badly his family feared he may not even have been aware of his 100th birthday celebrations.

The comedian is survived by wife DOLORES READE, who he wed in 1934, and their daughter LINDA - who says today (28JUL03) that Hope "was a great father, full of fun".

28/07/2003 17:31