Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946) is an American actress and singer of half Armenian, Scots Irish, and 1/16th Cherokee descent. She rose to prominence in the 1960s as a member of the duo Sonny and Cher, then as a solo artist when the duo ended in 1974. She has sold over 100 million records worldwide since the start of her career.
Cher first achieved success as one of the pop music duo Sonny and Cher with her first husband, Sonny Bono (whom she met while working as a backup singer for producer Phil Spector). Together, Sonny and Cher had number one singles with "I Got You Babe" in 1965 and "The Beat Goes On" in 1967 both in the U.K. and The U.S.A. Also those two years, Cher had her first charting songs as a solo artist: "All I Really Want to Do" and "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)." After Sonny and Cher's career stalled (their easy-listening pop and anti-drug policy soon became unpopular in an era of edgier tunes and edgier consumption), CBS head of programming Fred Silverman (after seeing them perform in Las Vegas) gave the duo their own show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, in 1971. It was a surprise hit and ran for four seasons before the duo decided to end its run; Cher announced her intent to separate from Sonny. She later hosted and performed in her own variety TV series, which ran for two seasons and concluded in 1977.
During the early Seventies, Cher began to establish herself as a solo recording artist with producer Snuff Garrett, and she scored three U.S. #1 hits with the songs "Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves" (1971), "Half-Breed" (1973), and "Dark Lady" (1974). (She did, however, turn down two songs that later became #1 hits for two other singers in 1973: "Angie Baby" and "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia," for Helen Reddy and Vicki Lawrence, respectively.) Cher and Bono divorced in 1974, and she later married rock musician Gregg Allman, a member of the Allman Brothers Band. She has two children, Chastity Bono and Elijah Blue Allman (founder of the band Deadsy). In 1978, Cher was romantically linked with Gene Simmons of KISS. Cher and Allman divorced in 1979 and she later had a relationship with guitarist Les Dudek.
Cher had demonstrated her considerable comedic talents in the various skits she performed on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, and while she was highly regarded in this arena, her ambition to develop a movie career was at first not taken seriously. For several years she worked at trying to secure a role to prove herself, until she was cast in a stage production of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. The reviews she received were glowing and she was cast in the film version, directed by Robert Altman. Once again the critics praised her work and she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.
This finally allowed her to make the transition into a successful acting career, starring in films including Silkwood (nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress), Mask (for which she won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award in 1985), Suspect, Moonstruck (for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1988), Mermaids and Tea With Mussolini. In 1989 she scored another million-selling hit with the song If I Could Turn Back Time. The album "Heart of Stone" went on to sell three million copies.
Following the devastating earthquake that hit Armenia in December of 1988, Cher travelled to the country to participate in the relief activities.
Her ability to reinvent herself has allowed her to continue performing and creating successful recordings for more than 35 years. One exception was her alternative-rock album entitled Not.Commercial (pronounced "not-dot-com-mercial"). The album was written after a retreat to a poetry class in France; it was rejected by record labels and Cher chose to sell it on her Web site, with great success.
In 1998 she had one of the biggest successes of her recording career with the number one hit Believe and the four-million selling album of the same name which won her her first Grammy Award. With the success of Believe, Cher became the oldest woman in the rock era to have a Number One hit. In the United Kingdom, "Believe" stayed at No. 1 in the charts for seven weeks and is the all-time biggest-selling single by a solo female artist in the UK.
In 2004 she was nominated for a Grammy for "Best Dance Recording" for her song "Love One Another." She was at the time in the throes of her last-ever world-wide tour (the Farewell Tour), her most spectacular and best-received tour ever. It began in June 2002 and was still going strong after more than two years, having appeared throughout the continental U.S. and major centers in Canada, as well as a sweep of about two dozen cities across Europe (May and June 2004). In February and March 2005, the tour went to Australia and New Zealand and then returned to North America. But late in April, with appearances at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California, on the last two days of the month, it finally made its swan song. In all, it amassed a spectacular total of 325 shows over a period just 45 days short of three years.
To date the tour has brought in a reported $250 million dollars and remains the most successful solo tour by a female in history.
Other Farewell Tour statistics: concerts in the U.S. - 256; Europe - 28; Canada - 24; Australia - 12; Mexico - 3; New Zealand - 2. Two performances on November 8, 2002 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, were taped by NBC for a special program, aired April 2003; it won Cher her first Emmy. With the Emmy win, Cher joined the small elite group of entertainers to have won the top awards in Hollywood - the Grammy, the Oscar, the Emmy, and the Golden Globe. Only the Tony - the top award for Broadway theatre - eludes her.
Among her many achievements, Cher is the only recording artist in history to score #1 hits in four successive decades and she also holds the Billboard record for the longest time span --34 years-- between her first #1 hit in 1965 and her most recent #1 in 1999. Her longevity is the inspiration for the famous quote "After a nuclear holocaust, all that will be left are cockroaches and Cher".
Cher is managed by expatriate Australian impresario Roger Davies. The former manager of successful '70s Australian pop band Sherbet, Davies' company also manages Tina Turner, Sade, Pink, Joe Cocker and Tony Joe White.
As gay icon
Cher has emerged as something of a gay icon in popular culture, a status assisted by her openly lesbian daughter Chastity Bono.   The NBC sitcom Will & Grace has acknowledged her status by making her the idol of gay character Jack McFarland. Cher guest-starred as herself twice on the sitcom, in 2001 and 2002. On October 4th, 2005, the Bravo program "Great Things About Being..." declared Cher #1 greatest thing about being gay.
On October 27th, 2003, Cher anonymously called C-SPAN during a phone-in. She recounted a visit she had made to maimed soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, criticized the deficiency of media coverage and government attention given to injured servicemen. Cher also remarked that she watches C-SPAN every day. Though she simply identified herself as an unnamed entertainer with USO, she was recognized by the C-SPAN host, who subsequently questioned her about her 1992 support for independent presidential candidate Ross Perot. In 1996, Cher appeared on C-SPAN as part of a national AIDS awareness event.
- Look at Us (1965)
- The Wondrous World of Sonny & Cher (1966)
- In Case You're In Love (1967)
- Sonny & Cher Live (1971)
- All I Ever Need Is You (1972)
- Mama Was a Rock and Roll Singer - Papa Used to Write All Her Songs (1973)
- All I Really Want to Do (1965)
- The Sonny Side of Cher (1966)
- Cher (1966)
- Cher Backstage (1967)
- With Love... Cher (1968)
- 3614 Jackson Highway (1969)
- Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves (1971)
- Foxy Lady (1972)
- Bittersweet White Light (1973)
- Half Breed (1973)
- Dark Lady (1974)
- Stars (1975)
- I'd Rather Believe In You (1976)
- Allman and Woman (1976) (w/ Gregg Allman)
- Cherished (1977)
- Prisoner (1979)
- Take Me Home (1979)
- Black Rose (1980)
- I Paralyze (1982)
- Cher (1987)
- Heart of Stone (1989)
- Love Hurts (1991)
- It's a Man's World (1995)
- Believe (1998)
- Living Proof (2001)
- The Very Best of Cher (2003)
- Cher Gold (2005)
- 1965 - "I Got You Babe" UK #1; US #1 (3 weeks)
- 1965 - "Baby Don't Go" UK #11; US #8
- 1965 - "But Your Mine" UK #17; US #15
- 1966 - "Have I Stayed Too Long" UK #42; US #49
- 1966 - "Little Man" UK #4; US #21
- 1966 - "Living For You" UK #44; US #87
- 1967 - "The Beat Goes On" UK #29; US #6
- 1971 - "All I Ever Need Is You" UK #7; US #7
- 1972 - "A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done" US #8
- 1972 - "When You Say Love" US #32
- 1993 - "I Got You Babe" (re-issue) UK #66
- 1963 - "Ringo, I Love You"
- 1964 - "Dream Baby"
- 1965 - "All I Really Wanna Do" UK #9; US #15
- 1965 - "Where Do You Go?" US #25
- 1966 - "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" UK #3; US #2
- 1966 - "Alfie" US #32
- 1966 - "I Feel Something In the Air" UK #43
- 1966 - "Sunny" UK #32
- 1966 - "Behind the Door" US #97
- 1966 - "Mama (When My Dollies Have Babies)" US #124
- 1967 - "Hey Joe" US #94
- 1967 - "You Better Sit Down Kids" US #9
- 1968 - "The Click Song"
- 1968 - "Take Me For A Little While"
- 1968 - "Your's Until Tomorrow"
- 1969 - "I Walk On Guilded Splinters"
- 1969 - "Chastity's Song"
- 1969 - "For What It's Worth" US #125
- 1969 - "You've Made Me So Very Happy"
- 1970 - "Superstar"
- 1970 - "Lay Baby Lay"
- 1971 - "Gypsys, Tramps, and Thieves" UK #4 (Gold); US #1 (2 weeks) (Gold)
- 1971 - "Don't Put it On Me"
- 1971 - "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"
- 1972 - "The Way Of Love" US #7
- 1972 - "Living In A House Divided" US #22
- 1972 - "Don't Hide Your Love" US #46
- 1973 - "Half-Breed" UK #29; US #1 (2 weeks) (Gold)
- 1974 - "Dark Lady" UK #36; US #1 (1 week) (Gold)
- 1974 - "Train Of Thought" US #27
- 1974 - "I Saw A Man and He Danced With His Wife" US #42
- 1977 - "Pirate" US #93
- 1979 - "Take Me Home" US #8 (Gold)
- 1979 - "Wasn't It Good" US #49
- 1979 - "Hell On Wheels" US #59
- 1987 - "I Found Someone" UK #5 (Gold); US #10
- 1988 - "We All Sleep Alone" UK #47; US #14
- 1988 - "Skin Deep" US #78
- 1989 - "After All" (duet with Peter Cetera) US #6 (Gold)
- 1989 - "If I Could Turn Back Time" UK #6 (Gold) US #3 (Gold)
- 1989 - "Just Like Jesse James" UK #11; US #8 (Gold)
- 1990 - "Heart Of Stone" UK #21; US #20
- 1990 - "You Wouldn't Know Love" UK #27 (Gold)
- 1991 - "The Shoop Shoop Song" UK #1; US #33
- 1991 - "Love And Understanding" UK #8 (Gold); US #17
- 1991 - "Save Up All Your Tears" UK #11; US #37
- 1991 - "Love Hurts" UK #43
- 1992 - "Could've Been You" UK #31
- 1992 - "Oh Not Not My Baby" UK #33
- 1993 - "Many Rivers to Cross" UK #37
- 1993 - "Whenever You're Near" UK #72
- 1994 - "I Got You Babe" (re-issue) UK #8
- 1995 - "Love Can Build a Bridge" UK #1
- 1995 - "Walking In Memphis" UK #11
- 1996 - "One By One" UK #7; US #52
- 1996 - "Not Enough Love In the World" UK #31
- 1996 - "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" UK #22
- 1998 - "Believe" UK #1 (7 weeks) (million seller); US #1 (4 weeks) (2x Platinum)
- 1999 - "Strong Enough" UK #5 (Platinum); US #57 (Gold)
- 1999 - "All or Nothing" UK #12; US #38
- 1999 - "Dov'è l'Amore" UK #21
- 2001 - "The Music's No Good Without You" UK #8
- 2002 - "Alive Again" Germany #16
- 2002 - "Song For The Lonely" US #85
- 2002 - "A Different Kind of Love Song/The Music's No Good Without You" US Maxi-Single #11
- 2003 - "When The Money's Gone/Love One Another" US Maxi Single #19
- Wild on the Beach (1965)
- Good Times (1967)
- Chastity (1969)
- Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)
- Silkwood (1983)
- Mask (1985)
- The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
- Suspect (1987)
- Moonstruck (1987)
- Mermaids (1990)
- The Player (1992) (Cameo)
- Pret-a-Porter (1994) (Cameo)
- Faithful (1996)
- Tea with Mussolini (1999)
- Mayor of the Sunset Strip (documentary) (2003)
- Stuck On You (2003)
- In the Pink (2007) (currently in pre-production)
- The Sonny & Cher Nitty Gritty Hour (1970)
- The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (1971-1974)
- Cher (1975-1976)
- The Sonny and Cher Show (1976-1977)
- Cher... Special (1978)
- Cher... and Other Fantasies (1979)
- Cher... at the Mirage (1990)
- VH1 Divas Live 2 (1999)
- Cher: Live in Concert from Las Vegas (1999)
- VH1 Divas Las Vegas (2002)
- Cher: The Farewell Tour (2003) (also executive producer)
- Cher: Live at the Mirage DVD Release (2005)
- List of best selling music artists
- List of number-one hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (US)
- List of number-one dance hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart