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The Secret Life of Bob Hope: An Unauthorized Biography Hardcover – 14 Nov 2002

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Robson Books Ltd (14 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860518973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860518976
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16.5 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 798,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Arthur Marx reveals for the first time the story of Bob Hope's hidden marriage and his extra-marital relationships.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allan Broadfield on 31 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't know how any of the previous reviewers of this book would consider the information to be nothing new. I certainly wasn't aware of Bob's various intrigues etc., and it gives an amazing amount of detail about his rise to fame. He became probably the topmost entertainer in America and probably the world, and despite his dubious attitudes was very generous with his time as regards charity work, often putting himself in considerable danger. I was amused at Mr Marx's account of Bob visiting England to perform in front of the 'King and Queen'. I think the Queen's husband, the Duke, would have been very flattered, and was an amusing example of a typically insular American who is blissfully unaware of anything outside the US. All in all, though a very good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RickAnne on 17 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book and loved it. I'm not sure what old Arthur Marx's problem is, but he does love to dish the dirt. This book is about the legend that was Bob Hope. It really is a great read. The story of Bob going into hospital because Bing Crosby had 'a nice' experience there is very amusing. I'm not knocking Marx, because he is a great writer and the stories he writes are super. In a way you want them to be true because it only adds to the legends he writes about and of course it's what we want to believe. We want to read about the bed hopping and all the social strife. It's great. Mr Marx - I loved the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Arthur Marx,being the son of Groucho,writes a very entertaining book about Hope.His womanising was known but not the extent.His land deals and his methods of increasing his wealth are set out in some detail.Marx makes a valid point that his father was able to ad lib without writers to hand whereas in later years Hope was almost totally reliant on them and thus lost any spontinaity.Apart from george Burns,Hope probably had the longest career in the 20th century and this book is an effective overview of Hope's life and effect on US comedy.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lydia Bates on 29 Aug. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Anticipating a good read this book offers this but as to the so called secret life of bob hope this is extremely disappointing. I am currently on page 281 of pags 470 and so far there are no revelations regarding a so called secret life - no extra details are given compared to any other biography relating to Bob Hope's womanising of miserliness so how can the author claim the secret life of bob hope. An easy read but not worth buying.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 0 reviews
84 of 97 people found the following review helpful
By Graham Hill - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Well -as you'll note from other reviews, how dare Arthur Marx pick on a great American legend! A man that has entertained us for most of the 20th century. A man that has risked his life to bring comfort to the troops of America's numerous wars and conflicts. A man that just couldn't make enough money or women! It was always known in Hollywood and in the Pentagon, what a flagrant womanizer Bob Hope was -in fact just about to the very end of his life. His wife knew it and with the patience of a saint, she stuck by him through countless affairs and one-nighters, both here and overseas. Thats the way it was. The man who always managed to have an ad-lib ready for any occassion -they were all carefully scripted in advance. Again, thats the way it was. No one likes to hear such stories about their heroes and role models, afterall it kind of makes suckers out of us if we go along and believe something like this book. We figure if Bob was that bad, we would have heard about it long ago. Thats where all those great PR people come in and Bob had the best. Worshiped by the public, the servicemen and all those American presidents from both parties. So who wants to make suckers out of all them, it's worse than burning the flag and then spitting on it. Yes, his image was greater than anyone on Mount Rushmore. What's more, Bob Hope knew it, flaunted it and fully exploited it -all the way to the bank. He became the single biggest private owner of real estate in California. Whereas Jack Benny always traded off his showbiz image of being tight with money, in reality he was the total opposite. However, Bob the benevolent was as tight as they come, extremely shrewd and always politically savvy. Not that all thats a crime, but was he really worthy of becoming the most decorated American in history?

Arthur Marx, son of Groucho, a veteran TV writer, playwright, novelist and biographer, took on an impossible and thankless task of showing Bob Hope in the true cold light of reality. But he strongly felt it was something he had to do. Theres no doubt that Bob Hope was extremely talented, his timing was always spot on. Theres no doubt he was the best MC you could ever get, specially at the Academy Awards. Why is it then, that we can take the good and bad when it comes to someone like Frank Sinatra, but not in super-patriot Bob?
And thats what this book is all about really. It's worthy of your making up your own mind and not blindly believing in all the PR hype. Politicians court showbiz because they crave that same insatiable fan worship. Superstar's today don't seem to mind if you think of them badly or not, as long as their name stays in the headlines and the money keeps coming in. But thats right, Bob was of another era.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
This expose should surprise no one 1 Jan. 2013
By dcs - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I read this book a number of years ago, and the thing that really hit home to me was not so much Bob Hope's specific dalliances, but---in reading other stories about other people as well--- how widespread such celebrity behavior was in those so called "innocent" days and how neatly everything was covered up back then. I will often hear older folks talk about today's stars being a bunch of degenerates, but--it seems---many stars behaved no different then as now. Except they lived in an era where the media was more tightly controlled and/or had a "gentleman's understanding" to look the other way. Hope, Crosby, Babe Ruth, Clark Gable, Sinatra and other big named celebrities could never hide their behavior today. And that goes for politicians, too. Jack Kennedy anyone? The lesson is clear: Don't fall for all of that apple pie American folklore about how moral celebrities were in the old days compared to today.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Validates what I already knew 13 Nov. 2014
By horseofcourse - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book verifies everything I had ever heard about Bob Hope. I dated a guy years ago who was friends with one of Hope's staff...and he told me things then that were patently unbelievable about the American institution that is Bob Hope...he was notorious for advancing a starlet's career only if she would give him something in exchange. And his so-called generosity--a good friend of mine worked in the Bank of America branch in Toluca Lake where Hope had a home. He would bank there--he'd come in, without all of the movie-star disguise--no girdle, no makeup, no fancy clothes--and visit his money, as she put it. So much of what I had heard about him over the years was validated by this book. Disturbing, somewhat disenchanting, but I would venture to say, pretty factual. If you don't want to know about the man, don't read this book. Live in the fantasy persona that we saw every Christmas, every week on TV, whatever.
34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
The Downside of a Legend 28 Dec. 2001
By Douglas Doepke - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Bob Hope, America's comedian -- at least among white middle-Americans of a certain age. But like any institution, and he is an institution, there is a downside to one of the country's favorite success stories. Arthur Marx pulls no punches in characterizing Hope's many flaws. Chief are the secretly promiscuous womanizing, the penny-pinching among staffers, the ceaseless self-promotion, and a generally curmudgeonly personality. Not really bad stuff, like mixing with gangsters or playing with drugs, the sorts of things Hollywood is generally prone to. But bad enough to tarnish a nurtured image as family man and patriot. Many readers will avoid a tell-all book like Marx's for that sort of defensive reason. Moreover, I get the feeling that like many in Hollywood Marx respects Hope the comedian at the same time he generally dislikes the man. Nonetheless, he is careful to point out Hope's many strengths as a performer -- his matchless ability with one-liners; his energy, verve and sass; his tireless dedication to servicemen,(which appears genuine); and his shrewd sense of the business. Additionally, Hope makes up for a lack of creative spark with a sound sense of comedy, which has helped him stay on top for a remarkable period. I like the way Marx has included excerpts from routines to provide period flavor. They furnish a sense of popular humor over time, and Hope was an expert purveyor of popular tastes until at least the 1960's when the unpleasant war-mongering side took over. Marx's style is easy and readable. Even so, as another reviewer has pointed out, there is a notable shortage of citations to back up fact. What there are consists of a list of persons interviewed for the book, which seems a little over general for a work of this type. Nevertheless, many allegations are also attributed by name from the list of interviewees. So, however you take it, be prepared for an eye-level approach to a legend who is also very much a flawed individual.
24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
The "Real" Hope is Readily Available to All 31 July 2012
By drkhimxz - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Edward G. Robinson was not an Italian Gangster; he was a cultured Jewish Gentleman with a wide-ranging knowledge of Art and an outstanding collection of Impressionist (particularly) and other modern paintings (including a half-dozen by the then young Frieda Kahlo). Groucho Marx was a fine ad libber, but all the classic movie lines that are constantly quoted as signs of his wit were written by Kaufman and Ryskind, Pereleman, Kalmar and Ruby, and numbers of other top stage and film scriptwriters. Ricardo Cortez was not a Latin Lover but a Jewish immigrant from Middle Europe. As his good friend Andy Devine pointed out, John Wayne, a guy from Iowa, when off-screen was far more likely to be found in the latest style suits than a cowboy's outfit. All of which is to say, what it is often hard for fans to accept: an actor portrays a role, a singer who hopes to succeed creates a persona which may, or may not, relate in any fashion, to what he or she is, when not working. Frank Sinatra did punch someone occasionally but he was always accompanied by a bodyguard (about whom public jokes by other actors were common but who, in reality, was the tough guy he looked like). Whatever Bob Hope was when off the air or the screen, has nothing to do with the persona he created which was justifiably admired and enjoyed by the American public for many years. Nothing in the book suggests that he violated the law, failed to live up to his obligations as an American citizen, failed to contribute what, in monetary terms, was tens of millions of dollars of his time and talent, or publically advocated that anyone violate the laws or obligations binding on a citizen. Whether or not he was a philanderer, a tightwad, lacking in private appreciation of his writers (whom he lauded in public) is an irrelevant concern (as far as I am concerned).That segments of the public are curious about an actor's private life, and writers find it profitable to satisfy that need, detracts nothing from the status a performer has achieved through his skill and the skill of those who help him.
I have read a number of books by Arthur Marx. He writes well and creates an interesting story. Most of the material he uses in this book, in the books on his father, on Martin and Lewis, and others, is basically unverifiable. Even when detailed citation is given in such books, one is still left with doubt as to the witnesses accuracy: are they making up a good story about a celebrity, are they passing on a story that someone else told that sounds good, are they failing accurately to remember years afterward, are they trimming a story for the sake of effect without realizing it, etc. This is true of any biography, particularly one written about someone no longer alive or so old that distortion is likely to mark his own or others memories.
My judgment: here is one take on what the life of the man who played the performer, Bob Hope, was like, off stage, when playing himself. If it suits your need to cut a "hero" down to size, accept it. If it offends you, reject it. If possible, however, take the scientific/scholarly approach: be skeptical of everything, but apply some measuring rod of truth-probability to everything you read.
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