Bob Mills Accepting the Award
Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters' Past President Chuck Street presented the organization's Diamond Circle Award to Bob Mills at the September 30, 2016 luncheon honoring Mary Hart. Below are Mr. Street's remarks introducing Mr. Mills.
Today's Diamond Circle inductee took an unusual path into broadcasting. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and as a kid became the proverbial class clown. Bob knew just how far he could go with his teachers who were Catholic nuns. After graduating from high school, he attended San Francisco State University, and then Hastings Law School. After passing the bar exam he settled into the practice of law.
On a whim he began writing jokes and sending them to legendary KSFO radio personality Don Sherwood. Sherwood used all of Bob's jokes during his popular morning radio program and frequently mentioned Bob's name during the broadcasts. Bob became a sort of minor celebrity in the Bay area. One time a superior court judge expedited a hearing and said "You need to get home so that you can write tomorrow morning's jokes for Don Sherwood. “
Within a short time Bob became acquainted with Hollywood comedy writer Gene Perret who was already a successful joke writer. Perret agreed that Bob had a knack for writing funny material and encouraged him to move south. Fortunately Bob's wife Shelly was adventurous and she said "Let's do it! You can always fall back on the law." Bob was totally bored with the practice of law anyway.
So he got his first paid gig writing jokes for Dinah Shore. Eventually he was hired to create comedy lines for Dean Martin's Celebrity Roasts. Bob learned how to write for celebrity guests who were not necessarily funny people, and he had to coach them gently on how to deliver the lines. He worked with legendary stars such as James Stewart, Zsa Zsa Gabor, James Coburn, George C. Scott, Orson Welles, Mickey Rooney, Ronald Reagan, and even George Burns. Bob's favorites were Jack Lemmon and Sammy Davis, Jr. He says that Davis was unbelievably talented with a wonderful temperament!
Bob's big break came when he was hired to write for Bob Hope. The relationship lasted for 17 years. Our honoree travelled extensively with Hope on his overseas tours to entertain our American troops and sailors, and he accompanied Hope on many other comedy tours. Today's honoree created sketches, monologues, comedy routines, speeches and parody song lyrics.
After Hope retired from TV in 1999 our honoree was invited to lecture on dozens of cruise-ship voyages. For the next 12 years he sailed aboard Crystal, Celebrity, and Princess cruise ships performing multimedia shows based on his experiences with Bob Hope. His wife Shelly was at his side helping with the production.
Eventually our honoree published a book titled "The Laugh Makers: A Behind-the-Scenes Tribute to Bob Hope's Incredible Gag Writers."
Today our honoree is still creating. He writes everyday. And he teaches an On-Line course for about 850 students who live in numerous overseas countries.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the newest member of the PPB Diamond Circle.....Mr. Bob Mills.
Bob Mills accepts his award from Chuck Street