Late comedy legend Bob Hope was at the centre of a red hot sexual liaison with British socialite MARGARET, DUCHESS OF ARGYLL - according to a new biography.

MICHAEL THORNTON's ARGYLL VS ARGYLL, to be published next year (04), reveals details of the torrid affair, about which Hope agreed to be interviewed about before his death on Sunday (27JUL03).

The Duchess's legendary four-year divorce from the late 11th DUKE OF ARGYLL, IAN CAMPBELL, was a major scandal in the sixties, and saw four unnamed men accused of having extra-marital relations with the lady - one of whom is now named as Hope.

Thornton, whose book has been heavily delayed owing to severe legal disputes, says, "I can confirm that Bob Hope is in the book, and that I interviewed him about his relationship with the Duchess.

"Because of his fame, women gravitated towards him but he did not always treat them well. In Margaret, he met his match. She deferred to no one, was never awed by celebrity and refused to tolerate chauvinism."

British-born Hope married DOLORES READE on 19 February 1934 and the couple stayed together until Bob's recent passing.

31/07/2003 13:54