Where There's Life, There's Bob and Dolores

02/25/1999 at 12:00 AM EST

Glittery old Hollywood and political Washington joined together at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday night to celebrate the 90th birthday of singer Dolores Hope -- described by one of her grandchildren as the "backbone of the (Bob) Hope family," reports PEOPLE Daily editor Stephen M. Silverman. Nancy Reagan (who rocked with laughter at a mimic's impersonations of Bill Clinton and Frank Sinatra) delivered one of several toasts to the birthday girl, as did Dick Clark, Joe Montegna, Red Buttons, ex-California Governor Pete Wilson and Phyllis Diller. "Old," said Diller (in her 80s herself), "is when your walker has an airbag."

  • During the 4 1/2-hour bash Merv Griffin, Shirley Jones, Steve Allen, Tony Martin and Rosemary Clooney each sang, and Clooney called Dolores "just a young chanteuse who had faith and charity . . . and before long she had Hope." The black-tie crowd of nearly 400 included Betsy Bloomingdale, George Schultz, Marvin Davis, Larry Hagman, JoAnne Carson and several Catholic priests and cardinals (which prompted Milton Berle to yell, "No Jews?"). Joked a jubilant Dolores: "I can't think of a better time to die." Chimed in her husband Bob (who turns 96 on Saturday), "Happy birthday, Dolores. I love you very much."

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