Politicians, friends and Hollywood stars, including Mickey Rooney, Tom Selleck, Raquel Welch and Ed McMahon gathered on Wednesday to wish a final goodbye to legendary comedian Bob Hope, who passed away last month.
"He was one of my dearest friends," Rooney said before entering the private mass at the Roman Catholic Church of Charles Borromeo in Hollywood, where Hope's wife Dolores worships.
"I really miss him. He was the best. Bob Hope is America," Rooney said.
The legendary comic who made the United States laugh for the best part of a century, and was recognised for a patriotism that led him to entertain American troops on foreign battle fields, died a month ago in his house in Los Angeles of pneumonia, shortly after celebrating his 100th birthday.
Considered an icon in the US, many celebrities attended the service, as well as Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein of California, in order to pay their last respects to the comedian.
"It's just nice to be able to come here and pay my respects to a teriffic guy," Selleck said, adding "He was a self-made man."
The morning mass was led by the cardinal of Los Angeles Roger Mahony, and marked the first of two private ceremonies that were due to occur Wednesday.
This afternoon, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences organised a homage from those who help support the entertainment industry.
A film star and a friend of all the country's presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hope died on July 27 in his sleep at Toluca Lake, surrounded by Dolores, family members, a priest and his doctors.
Hope was born into modest beginnings on the 29th of May 1903 in Eltham, south-east London, but went on to become a star in the United States, where he made more than 50 films, became one of the world's best-known stars, and collected more than 2,000 awards.