Bob Hope was resting at his California home Thursday morning after being hospitalized for about a week, recovering from gastrointestinal bleeding.
The 97-year-old comedian told his wife, Dolores, Wednesday, 'I'm up, I'm dressed, I might as well go home," reports his publicist and longtime friend, Ward Grant.
Hope went down to the main lobby of Eisenhower Regional Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., to wave to waiting television cameras and saw no reason to return to his hospital room, although he looked frail and had to lean on a rail for support.
The day before, even his wife had demonstrated high spirits. "If he knew how old his nurse was" 26-year-old Chereé Combs "he'd say he has golf balls older than she is," the statement quoted Dolores Hope as saying. "She's been wonderful."
Hope will continue with physical therapy to improve his strength and motor coordination, says his physician, Dr. Gary Annunziata.
Hope was admitted to the Rancho Mirage facility last Thursday, after a bout with gastrointestinal bleeding -- said to be somewhat common among elderly people.
He has received a deluge of phone calls, faxes, e-mail and flowers from friends and fans. Former President Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty, who have a home in Rancho Mirage, phoned Hope and have received regular updates on his condition.
Hope was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs on June 1 after waking up with stomach pains. He was later moved to Eisenhower Regional Medical Center.
The hospital sits on 100 acres that Hope donated in the 1960s and is located on Bob Hope Drive.
Hope began his career in vaudeville, and moved on to radio, movies and television. He has entertained millions of American servicemen, taking his act on the road from World War II through the Gulf War.