Bob Hope Was a "Miserable Human Being," '50s Bombshell Mamie Van Doren Says
The 92-year-old star also claimed that he propositioned her when she was 16 and he was in his 40s.
Today, Bob Hope is best remembered for his movies, hosting the Oscars numerous times, and his frequent USO tours. But, while these facts alone paint a wholesome picture of the entertainer, not everyone agrees with that assessment. In a tweet posted on March 30, Mamie Van Doren called Hope a "miserable human being," while also calling out his motivation for working with the USO and oft-reported womanizing ways. Along with her impressions of Hope, Van Doren shared a photo they took together when she was just 17 years old.
Van Doren, now 92, is a former actor who came to fame in the 1950s. Along with Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, she was referred to in the media as one of "The Three Ms"—blonde bombshell actors and sex symbols. Given her career, it's no surprise that Van Doren has some shocking stories from Old Hollywood, and this isn't even the first time she's spoken out against Hope and the image he cultivated. Read on to see what she's said about the legendary comedian.
Van Doren responded to a follower who asked her about Hope.
On March 30, Van Doren responded to a tweet from a fan who asked, "What was bob hope like If you met him i have heard conflicting stories about him."
"He was an [expletive] that made a living off of the troops," the star replied. "Plus he got plenty of [expletive] doing it. A miserable human being. Not from me. I was Miss Palm Springs here and just turned 17."
In the tweet, Van Doren shared a photo of herself standing next to Hope when she was Miss Palm Springs. The comedian had also been a frequent beauty pageant host during his career, which may explain how they met.
Hope died in 2003 at the age of 100.
She claimed that he propositioned her when she was a teenager.
As reported by Gr8er Days, in a 2017 Facebook post, Van Doren slammed Hope and made a claim that he had come on to her when she was very young.
"I was just the right age for Mr Hope….16," Van Doren wrote. "Because I turned him down he would never invite me to work with him." (She also posted this part of the story on Twitter.) When Van Doren was 16, Hope would have been in his mid-40s.
She said that he made millions from his USO tours.
In her Facebook post, Van Doren also cast doubt on the assumption that Hope's work with the USO was done out of the goodness of his heart. "Bob Hope made millions of dollars off entertaining the troops," the star continued. "Those tours were sold to NBC. He never did anything for the good of anyone else."
She also claimed that he had several extramarital affairs, including one with actor Barbara Payton. Hope was married to Dolores Hope from 1934 until his death in 2003 at age 100.
"He had side pieces tucked away in bungalows all over L.A.," Van Doren wrote of Hope. "He once told Barbara Peyton [sic] that she needed a new mattress, and if she didn't get one he wouldn't [expletive] her anymore. Miraculously, he paid for it. That said, he was the most tightfisted [expletive] in Hollywood. Delores [sic] was complicit too. She knew what he was doing and looked the other way. It saved wear and tear on her."
"Worst of all, he wasn't funny," Van Doren added. "He was surrounded by writers all the time, and couldn't be funny without them."
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Others have spoken out about his infedility.
Van Doren isn't the first person to challenge Hope's image, and it has been widely reported that he had numerous affairs during his marriage.
In 1993, Groucho Marx's son, Arthur Marx, published the book The Secret Life of Bob Hope. As reported by the Associated Press (via Deseret News), he wrote that Hope traded girlfriends with frequent collaborator Bing Crosby; put up women in homes near his own so he could visit them; and chose women for his USO tours that he thought he could sleep with.
Arthur told the AP, "I'm not throwing rocks; I'm just telling the story of his life. If a few rocks come at him, that's the way he lived."
At the time, Hope's publicist responded in a statement, "We're not dignifying the book with any comment. I always deplore those who make a living off the degradation of others. I hope (Marx) makes a lot of money off the book so he can buy his own damned life."