Leslie Townes "Bob" Hope (May 29, 1903 - July 27, 2003), was an American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete, and author. With a career spanning nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in over 70 films and shorts, including a series of "Road" movies also starring Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. In addition to hosting the Academy Awards 19 times (more than any other host), he appeared in many stage productions and television roles and was the author of fourteen books. The song "Thanks for the Memory" is widely regarded as Hope's signature tune.
Anita Ekberg was born on 29 September 1931, in Sweden, the sixth of eight childrenof Gustav Fredrik Ekberg by the former Alva Maria Larsson. In her teens, Anita worked as a fashion model. Ekberg entered the Miss Malmö competition in 1950 at her mother's urging. This led to the Miss Sweden contest which she won. She consequently went to the United States to compete for the 1951 Miss Universe title (an unofficial pageant at that time, the pageant became official in 1952).
Although Ekberg did not win the Miss Universe pageant, as one of six finalists she did earn a starlet's contract with Universal Studios, a contract that lasted six months.