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California Airport Renamed After Bob Hope - 2003-12-18

Wednesday marked the centennial of human flight, and also brought an honor to a veteran entertainer who died in July at age 100. A major West Coast airport has been renamed in honor of Bob Hope.

The airport serves the heavily populated northern suburbs of Los Angeles. Formerly known as the Burbank-Pasadena-Glendale airport, it has a new name: Bob Hope Airport.

The renaming pays homage to one of the best-loved American entertainers.

Bob Hope began singing and dancing as child on the vaudeville stage, then made his mark as a comic on radio and in movies, and became a fixture on American television.

He is also remembered for entertaining U.S. troops, often on the front lines of international conflicts. At home in Los Angeles, he kept his private jet at the Burbank Airport.

Signs at the renamed airport will bear the likeness of the comic, with his trademark ski-jump nose.

Johnny Grant, known as the honorary mayor of Hollywood, says the new name will memorialize an important entertainer, and also lift the spirit of travelers. "I think it will probably be the happiest airport around, when people come in and see his likeness on the wall and his name, and they'll think about his favorite one-liners," he said. "So maybe it will make a happier world. I hope so."

Few show business figures have airports named after them, and one, Ronald Reagan, is better remembered as a U.S. president. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is outside Washington D.C. John Wayne Airport, named for a tough-guy movie hero, is located in Orange County, south of Los Angeles.