I’m sorry to say that Ward Grant, Bob Hope’s witty and wonderful publicist for more than 30 years, passed away last week. He had several health issues the past few years so it’s not a shock, but it still stings. I just got a “punny” Christmas card from the card himself. Last year he couldn’t make it to my wedding, but always a class act, he sent one of the nicest presents we received.
I worked with Ward in the late 80s while working with Ken Kantor in the old Hope office on PR for Hope’s TV specials. Hope was still a bear and so was Ward. And in 2005, Ward asked me to help him with media to announce the opening of the Bob Hope Memorial Garden at the San Fernando Mission. The Great Comedian was laid to rest with a press conference for the media, and an elegant afternoon service and private dinner at the Hope house with invited guests that included veteran celebs, Cardinal Mahoney, two bishops and 10 priests. Leave it to Dolores to send that rascal off with all the help she could get! And, of course, his final resting place is what else, a mini ampitheatre and stage. Go see it and pay your respects, if you can. The garden and water features are adjacent to the chapel, and are beautiful.
So I’ll say farewell to a great man and a memorable chapter of my life at his memorial service this weekend. You can read his obit at www.bobhope.com. Sat nam.