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Sonny Bono

Sonny Bono

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Also Known As: Sonny Christie, Salvatore Phillip Bono Died: January 5, 1998
Born: February 16, 1935 Cause of Death: injuries sustained in a skiing accident
Birth Place: Detroit, Michigan, USA Profession: singer, actor, songwriter, producer, construction worker, butcher's assistant, truck driver, delivery boy, mayor, restaurateur, politician, waiter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

He may not have elicited the same reception as his flamboyant and bedazzled partner, but that was just how Sonny Bono had planned it. Best known as the straight man to his wife, singer-actress Cher, on "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" (CBS, 1971-74), Bono was a singer, songwriter and television star with a career that spanned decades in Hollywood, including learning music production under the tutelage of the infamous Phil Spector during his infamous "wall of sound" heyday. Later, after his marriage to Cher dissolved in the mid-1970s, he refocused his considerable energies less on entertainment and more on politics. Many were surprised that the same buffoon from "Sonny and Cher" made like Mr. Smith and went to Washington, where he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives representing California. The showbiz icon's life was cut short during a tragic skiing accident in 1998, yet he was forever remembered for his generosity of spirit, making a star out of a seemingly impossible case, and for giving the world the magical musical gem that was "I Got You Babe."

He may not have elicited the same reception as his flamboyant and bedazzled partner, but that was just how Sonny Bono had planned it. Best known as the straight man to his wife, singer-actress Cher, on "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" (CBS, 1971-74), Bono was a singer, songwriter and television star with a career that spanned decades in Hollywood, including learning music production under the tutelage of the infamous Phil Spector during his infamous "wall of sound" heyday. Later, after his marriage to Cher dissolved in the mid-1970s, he refocused his considerable energies less on entertainment and more on politics. Many were surprised that the same buffoon from "Sonny and Cher" made like Mr. Smith and went to Washington, where he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives representing California. The showbiz icon's life was cut short during a tragic skiing accident in 1998, yet he was forever remembered for his generosity of spirit, making a star out of a seemingly impossible case, and for giving the world the magical musical gem that was "I Got You Babe."

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 First Kid (1996) Congressman Sonny Bono
4.
 Thanksgiving Day (1990)
5.
 Under The Boardwalk (1988) 2n Ancient
6.
 Hairspray (1988) Franklin Von Tussle
7.
 Dirty Laundry (1987) Maurice
8.
 Troll (1986) Peter Dickinson
9.
 Airplane II: The Sequel (1982) Salucci
10.
 Vals, The (1982) Spaced-Out Guest
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Moved to Los Angeles with family at age 7
:
Worked as deliveryman for a meat company while peddling his songs to record companies
1957:
Landed songwriting/producing job with Sam Cooke, Little Richard and Larry Williams
:
Worked in promotion for an independent record distributor by 1962
1964:
First radio hit, "Koko Joe" performed by The Righteous Brothers
1964:
Worked as an A&R man for Phillies Records, writing, singing, and playing with such artists as Darlene Love and the Ronettes; met the teenaged Cher for whom he got work as backup vocalist for the Ronettes and the Crystals
1964:
Formed duo with new wife, Cher, "Caesar and Cleo"
1965:
Changed to "Sonny and Cher" for recording purposes
1965:
Feature acting debut, "Wild on the Beach"
1967:
Starred as himself with Cher in feature, "Good Times"
1969:
Formed nightclub act with Cher; discovered by CBS TV executive Fred Silverman
1971:
Hosted (with Cher) TV series, "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour"
1971:
Acted in first TV-movie, "The First Nine Months Are the Hardest"
1974:
Hosted own TV series, "The Sonny Comedy Review"
:
Hosted (with Cher) new TV series, "The Sonny and Cher Show"
1982:
Opened Bono's Restaurant in West Hollywood
1985:
Opened Bono's Restaurant in Palm Springs
1988:
Reunited with Cher for one performance and sang "I Got You Babe" on "Late Night with David Letterman" (February)
1988:
Elected mayor of Palm Springs, CA (April 12)
1990:
Founded the Palm Springs Film Festival
1992:
Unsuccessfully ran for the US Senate from California
1994:
Elected to Congress as representative from California (November); assumed office in January 1995
1996:
Re-elected to Congress
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Donna Rankin. Married while Bono was in his teens; mother of his daughter Christine.
companion:
Mimi Machu. Model. Mother of Bono's son Sean.
wife:
Cher. Singer, actor. Married on October 27, 1964; divorced in 1975; met while on a double date in 1963.
wife:
Susie Coelho. Model, actor. Married in 1981; divorced in 1984.
wife:
Mary Bono. Model, gymnast. Born c. 1962; married from April 25, 1988 until Bono's death; elected to her husband's congressional seat after his death.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Santo Bono. Truck driver. Italian immigrant.
mother:
Jean Bono. Beautician. Italian immigrant.
daughter:
Christine Bono. Mother, Donna Rankin; survived him.
son:
Sean Machu. Born c. 1964; mother, Mimi Machu.
daughter:
Chastity Bono. Singer, activist. Mother Cher; born on March 4, 1969; survived him.
son:
Chesare Elan Bono. Born on April 25, 1988; mother, Mary Whitaker; survived him.
daughter:
Chianna Maria Bono. Born in 1991; mother, Mary Whitaker; survived him.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"And the Beat Goes On"

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