Although born in Britain, Hope, one of the best known, and most beloved US entertainers, celebrated his centenary birthday in May.

He is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most honoured entertainer in history, boasting a fabled career that spanned the stage, the early years of television and more than 50 feature films.

His razor-sharp wit and extraordinary 75-year career has made him one of world's best-loved entertainers who transcended religions, cultures and nationalities.

When his longtime comedy partner Phyllis Diller asked the "laugh boss" a few years ago who would ever want to be 100 years old, Hope shot back: "Anybody who's 99."

King of the one-liners, Hope kept making his famed TV specials under an unprecedented and extremely lucrative 60-year contract with the NBC network until he was 93.

He will also be remembered for his famous "Road to..." series with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.

Born in Britain, Hope said he quit 
when he realised he couldn't be King!

When asked by a friend why he did not retire and spend his time fishing, he replied simply: "Because fish don't applaud."

After a career on vaudeville, radio, cinema and finally television, Hope finally slowed down in 1996 and devoted his time to his wife of 69 years, Dolores, and to his first passion, golf.

Background

The fifth of seven sons, Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, England. He used to joke he left England at the age of four when he discovered he could not be king.

After high school in Cleveland, Ohio, Hope took dancing lessons from entertainer King Rastus Brown and Vaudeville performer Johnny Root.

He made his break in the 1933 Broadway production musical of “Roberta”.

He captured cinema screens with his performance in “Red, Hot and Blue” , which paved the way for his starring role in his first major Paramount Pictures “The Big Broadcast of 1938.”