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Also Known As: Cheryl Sarkisian, Cher Bono, Bonnie Jo Mason, Cherilyn La Piere Died:
Born: May 20, 1946 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: El Centro, California, USA Profession: singer, actress

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Award-winning American pop culture institution, Cher's one-of-a-kind persona made her an inspiration for the working-class woman and a gay icon frequently imitated on the drag runway. From her beginnings in pop music and ultimate title of one of its top-selling female artists of all time, exotic-looking Cher was known for outrageous costumes and her aching, powerful contralto. But her eventual acting success in films like "Silkwood" (1983), "Mask" (1985), "Moonstruck" (1987) and "Mermaids" (1990) revealed a strong connection to the emotional lives of unstable, overwhelmed, reluctant adults. Her four decade-long career was more of a rollercoaster than most in that league, but the comeback queen always emerged on top with her peculiar ability to parlay the conflicted inner life of a shy loner into a headdress-wearing diva strutting and singing for crowds of thousands.

An Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Award-winning American pop culture institution, Cher's one-of-a-kind persona made her an inspiration for the working-class woman and a gay icon frequently imitated on the drag runway. From her beginnings in pop music and ultimate title of one of its top-selling female artists of all time, exotic-looking Cher was known for outrageous costumes and her aching, powerful contralto. But her eventual acting success in films like "Silkwood" (1983), "Mask" (1985), "Moonstruck" (1987) and "Mermaids" (1990) revealed a strong connection to the emotional lives of unstable, overwhelmed, reluctant adults. Her four decade-long career was more of a rollercoaster than most in that league, but the comeback queen always emerged on top with her peculiar ability to parlay the conflicted inner life of a shy loner into a headdress-wearing diva strutting and singing for crowds of thousands.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Zookeeper (2011)
2.
 Burlesque (2010)
3.
4.
 Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003) Herself
5.
 Stuck on You (2003) Herself
6.
 Tea With Mussolini (1999) Elsa
8.
 Faithful (1995) Margaret O'Donnell
9.
 Ready to Wear (1994) Herself
10.
 The Player (1992) Herself
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1946:
Father abandoned family when Cher was a few months old
1950:
Placed in a Catholic home until mother could save enough money to support her
1962:
Ran away from home at age 16 and met Sonny Bono, who was working for record producer Phil Spector
1963:
Worked as background vocalist for Spector recordings (of the Ronettes and the Crystals)
1964:
Recorded first song, "Ringo, I Love You," under the pseudonym of Bonnie Jo Mason; produced by Phil Spector
1964:
Began performing with Bono as 'Caesar and Cleo'
1965:
Changed name to 'Sonny and Cher'; reached Top Ten with the singles "Baby Don't Go" and "I Got You Babe"
1965:
Film acting debut in "Wild on the Beach"
1967:
Played herself in William Friedkin's "Good Times"
1969:
Debuted the Sonny and Cher nightclub act
1969:
Acted the title role in "Chastity"; written by Sonny Bono
1971:
Appeared on TV in "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" (CBS)
1975:
Had solo TV series, "Cher" (CBS)
1976:
After their divorce, re-teamed with Bono for "The Sonny and Cher Show" (CBS)
1981:
Off-Broadway acting debut in "Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean"
1982:
Reprised role of Cissy in movie version of "Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean"
1983:
Played Meryl Streep's lesbian friend in Mike Nichols' "Silkwood"; earned first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress
1985:
Formed film production company, Isis
1985:
Played the mother of a severely disfigured boy (Eric Stoltz) in Peter Bogdanovich's "Mask"
1987:
Won an Academy Award playing a frumpy bookkeeper in Norman Jewison's "Moonstruck"
1987:
Teamed with Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer for "The Witches of Eastwick"
1987:
Returned to her recording career with the album <i>Cher</i>
1989:
Released the album <i>Heart of Stone</i>, with the hit single "If I Could Turn Back Time"
1990:
Last film for six years, "Mermaids"
1991:
First exercise video released, "CherFitness: A New Attitude"
1994:
Collaborated with MTV's cartoon "Beavis and Butt-head" for a rock version of Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe"
1996:
Returned to the big screen in the disappointing "Faithful"
1996:
Made directing debut with a segment of HBO's "If These Walls Could Talk"; also starred in the segment she directed; earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actress
1998:
Paid tribute to Bono in the CBS special "Sonny and Me: Cher Remembers"; executive produced
1998:
Released her 23rd studio album, <i>Believe</i>; the title song became the biggest hit of Cher's entire career
1998:
Published her first memoir, <i>The First Time</i>
1999:
Returned to films in the ensemble of Franco Zeffirelli's "Tea With Mussolini"
2002:
Traveled with her "Living Proof: The Farewell Tour"; aired on NBC in 2003; and later in 2003 released the album <i>Live: The Farewell Tour</i>
2003:
Had a cameo apperance in the Farrelly brothers comedy "Stuck on You"
2003:
Earned a Grammy nomination for the song "Love One Another"
2008:
Returned to performing at Las Vegas' Caesar's Palace, in the show titled "Cher at the Colosseum"
2010:
Played a club's proprietor and headliner in "Burlesque"
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song ¿ Motion Picture ("You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from "Burlesque")
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Fresno High School: Fresno , California -

Notes

Among the industry women named after Cher are actress Cher Bennett, make-up artist Cher Slater, publicist Cher Patric Cox, set dresser Cher Lafreniere, stuntwoman Cher Meier, production designer Cher Ledwith, production assistant Cher Jung and the fictional heroine of "Clueless".

"I'm insecure about everything, because ... I'm never going to look in the mirror and see this blond, blue-eyed girl. That is my idea of what I'd like to look like." --Cher quoted in Cosmopolitan, November 1990.

"When we design the costumes for her, it has nothing to do with fashion. It has nothing to do with anything but the fact that we are attempting to present to the world this ... creature in her own right" --Bob Mackie, quoted in Vanity Fair, November 1990.

According to her divorce settlement with Sonny Bono, Cher is entitled to 50 percent of the royalties from all the songs they wrote together --From Vanity Fair, November 1990.

On her "Infomercial Diva" phase: "My friend Laurie [her hairdresser since 'Mask'] wanted to have a business like Vidal Sassoon. I didn't know it would be seen that often. There weren't that many infomercials then. It's like serial killers--there used to be only a few." --Cher quoted in Daily News, June 12, 1996.

"Yeah. I absolutely care about it [aging] because in our society there's a penalty for getting older. If our society embraced everybody, young and old, then you wouldn't think about it for a second. But our society embraces the young, so when you start to get old, it's like, 'Am I worthless? What's happened to me?' I still feel pretty kick-ass. I'm pretty vital. I have my truck and my motorcycle." --Cher in People, July 1, 1996.

"The other day, my son Elijah shaved his eyebrows off and dyed the front part of his hair black. I said, 'You know, Elijah, that looks ridiculous. It's so unattractive.' He looked at me and said, 'I don't want to hear this from you. Do you realize how stupid this sounds coming from you?'

"My sister said, 'Well, he's got you there.' And then my mother said, 'Yeah, he's got you there.' And my grandmother was there too." --Cher to Daily News, September 22, 1996.

About her worst experience on a movie set: "I guess Peter Bogdanovich [director of 'Mask'] was the worst. At the time, I was so unsure of myself, and he wasn't very nice. One day he said, 'Just remember, this movie isn't about the woman, it's about a boy. I can cut you out.' I thought, 'I'm going to take that information and just stash it, and get real, real tough.' And I did." --Cher in Rolling Stone, September 19, 1996.

"There's a saying among those who work around Cher. If there's a nuclear war, only two species will survive: the cockroaches and Cher." --From "Cher Resurrected, Again, by a Hit" by Neil Strauss in The New York Times, March 11, 1999.

On her album "Not Commercial", Cher told the Los Angeles Times (September 24, 2000): "It's very un-Cher like. But if people really knew me, it is very Cher. But it's so [expletive] dark. I have to put a sticker on it. I don't want kids buying it. I write like I speak--not exactly like a sailor, but colorful. ...

"I don't have any expectations. I did it for myself, so I'm just sharing it with people who might be interested and don't really care what reviewers think. And if people like it, they like it, and if they don't, that's fine. It's so personal. But I've played it for people and they liked it. Maybe it hits other people's notes."

"If I'd been fucked by my husband as much as I was fucked by Warner Bros., I'd still be married." - Cher quoted in 1988 Premiere October 2, 2002

"If I'd had as much plastic surgery as people say, there'd be another whole person left over! I could send her out to work her butt off onstage every night."-Cher US Weekly November 4, 2002

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Warren Beatty. Actor, director, producer. Had relationship with Beatty when she was a teenager.
husband:
Sonny Bono. Singer, actor, restaurateur, politician. Born on February 16, 1935; married on October 27, 1964; divorced in 1975; elected mayor of Palm Springs CA in 1988; elected a representative to the US Congress in 1994; died in a skiing accident on January 5, 1998.
husband:
Greg Allman. Musician, singer. Married in June 1975; separated after nine days; reconciled and later divorced c. 1977; member of the Allman Brothers.
companion:
Les Dudek. Musician. Worked together in the hard-rock band Black Rose.
companion:
David Geffen. Executive.
companion:
Mark Hudson. Singer-songwriter.
companion:
Gene Simmons. Rock musician. Member of KISS.
companion:
David Paich. Rock musician. Member of Toto.
companion:
Val Kilmer. Actor. Dated briefly in the 1980s.
companion:
Rob Camilletti. Disc jockey. Together 1987-89.
companion:
Richie Sambora. Guitarist. Together 1989-90; member of Bon Jovi; later married actress Heather Locklear.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Georgia Holt. Model, actor. Born c. 1927; married six times; Cherokee; author of "Star Mothers".
father:
John Sarkisian. Truck driver. Armenian; abandoned family when Cher was a few months old; married and divorced Cher's mother twice.
step-father:
John Southall. Married to Cher's mother in the early 1950s; father of Cher's half-sister.
father:
Gilbert La Piere. Mother's fifth husband (married in 1961); adopted Cher and her sister.
half-sister:
Georganne Southall. Former actor. Born in September 1951; married Cher's head of security, Ed Bartylak.
daughter:
Chastity Bono. Activist, former singer. Born on March 4, 1969; father, Sonny Bono; "outed" by a tabloid in 1990; officially came out as a lesbian in 1995; wrote book "Family Outing" published in 1998 by Litle, Brown.
son:
Elijah Blue Allman. Musician. Born c. 1976; father, Greg Allman; plays with band Deadsy.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Forever Fit: The Lifetime Plan for Health, Fitness, and Beauty" Bantam Books
"Totally Uninhibited: The Life and Wild Times of Cher" William Morrow
"The First Time" Simon & Schuster

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