Bob Hope/

You know you are getting old when the candles cost more than the cake

Bob Hope was America’s great funny-man of the 20th century. A star of stage, radio, TV and film, he was always on hand with a sharp one-liner whatever the occasion.

Bob was actually English – born Leslie Townes Hope in London, the son of a stonemason. The family moved to the U.S. when he was four.

“I grew up with six brothers. That's how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom,” he later joked.

Changing his name to Bob, because "it sounded brisker” he first became known as a vaudeville star, later breaking into radio and then films.

Among his biggest movie successes were the Road movies which he made with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour between 1940 and 1962. He was also renowned for his popular shows for US forces during the Second World War and other conflicts – and for hosting the Oscars 19 times: more than anyone else.

Hope died not long after his 100th birthday.

He’d once more seriously reflected,on a career that had brought laughter to fans the world over: “I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.”