By CONNIE MABIN, Associated Press Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) - After following Bob Hope around as a budding newspaper reporter in college in 1965, Jeannie Emser Schultz said the entertainer helped her get her big break.
Hope sent a letter of recommendation to The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. The newspaper hired her as a columnist after graduation.
"When I came to interview, they said, 'Well, you have friends in high places,'" Schultz said. "I said, 'I do?'"
Schultz, who now is a theater marketing manager, was one of many people who reminisced Monday about Hope's Ohio roots after his death of pneumonia at 100.
Hope, born in London in 1903, moved to Cleveland with his family as a 4-year-old. The city that Hope called his hometown named a street in its theater district Memory Lane-Bob Hope Way in May in honor of his 100th birthday.
Hope's 85-year-old nephew, Milton Hope, said the help his uncle gave Schultz was typical.
"All I can say is he sure made a lot of people happy," Milton Hope said from his home in Aurora.
He hopes his uncle is remembered not just for his jokes, but also for donating his money and time to charities, he said.
Rachael Pavlosky, a 28-year-old opera singer from Cleveland, said she knew little about Hope's life but was inspired that a fellow Clevelander made it big.
"As Bob Hope, he gave people a lot of hope," Pavlosky said while walking along Hope's street in Playhouse Square. "It shows that a lot of good things still come out of Cleveland."
While in Cleveland, Hope boxed in the Golden Gloves tournament, sold shoes in a department store, watched the Indians through a hole in the fence at the old League Park and developed a love for the stage and movies.
He was a minority owner of the Cleveland Indians in the 1940s. Indians owner Larry Dolan thanked Hope for his years of loyalty to the team, dating back to the days where he watched from the fence.
"We are truly grateful for the lives he touched during his 100 years not only as an entertainer, but also as a patriot and humanitarian," Dolan said. "He brought laughter and smiles to millions, and thus his legacy will live on for generations."
In an essay written by Hope that was included in media information for a 1977 Cleveland appearance, he said a particularly painful fight inspired his entertainment career.
"I lay on my back in a boxing ring in Cleveland, staring up foggily at some hulk who had just creamed me and thought to myself, 'This is no way to make a living boy.' So I've been a comedian ever since," he wrote.
Schultz said she reunited with Hope after leaving her newspaper job when she helped book him for appearances in Los Angeles and Cleveland.
"He always loved Cleveland. He loved coming back," Schultz said.
When visiting his hometown, Hope had his limousine driver shuttle him through his old neighborhood, she said.
Milton Hope said the city's birthday celebration for his uncle two months ago brought back many memories.
"We've had a chance to think about him more than normal," he said. "We really didn't appreciate all the things he's done."
Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said he was touched by Hope's unwavering dedication to entertaining troops.
"One of our problems today is we don't laugh enough," Voinovich said. "Bob Hope helped all of us to laugh and to take some of the problems we had and treat them in a little bit lighter vein than we would have."