Cher Biography: Life and Career of the Singer and Actress

Credits: Rebecca Brayton Rakesh Goolab
Born May 20th, 1946 in El Centro, California, Cher got her start in music after she met future husband Sonny Bono. After Sonny and Cher found success in the pop rock world with "I Got You Babe," Cher branched off on her own. She began to act in films and the pair also found popularity with their variety television show. Despite their marriage's end, they continued to work together. Cher also gained critical acclaim for her acting and found commercial success with her solo records. In this video, takes a look at the life and career of Cher.
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She believes in life after love. Welcome to and today we’re taking a look at the life and career of Cher.


Cherilyn Sarkisian was born May 20th, 1946 in El Centro, California. She had a difficult childhood and was raised mostly by her mother following her parents’ divorce. After dropping out of high school as a teen, she pursued her showbiz dreams.

Sonny Bonno

Cher’s career started in the 1960s when she befriended her future husband, Sonny Bono. Through his connections, Cher landed work as a backup singer for producer Phil Spector and released singles under various pseudonyms. After they flopped, she recorded music with Bono as Caesar and Cleo.

Sonny and Cher

The duo then changed their name to Sonny and Cher to release the pop rock album Look At Us in 1965. They were propelled into the spotlight thanks to the chart-topping “I Got You Babe.”


Cher began as a shy performer, but the pair’s success forced her out of her shell. They performed around the world, and she became known for her bold personality and extravagant fashion choices.

Solo Debut

Later that year, Cher found top twenty success with her first solo effort: All I Really Want to Do. She followed this with several more solo records in the mid-60s.

Disappointments in Music and Film

However, Cher’s career took a hit in the late 1960s when Backstage was a commercial flop. She worked with Bono on “Good Times” and “Chastity,” but these disastrous films failed to find an audience. Following the birth of their child, the pair headed to Vegas to fine-tune their skills and regain fans.

Television Show

Things improved in 1970: their appearance on a television special led to their own variety series, “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.” The show was a hit and received numerous Emmy nominations during its four season run. Riding on this success, they released more albums, including the top twenty effort, All I Ever Need Is You.

Solo Success

Cher’s first number one hit was “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” from her 1971 album of the same name. She topped the charts again with the title cuts from Half-Breed and Dark Lady.

End of Sonny and Cher

1974 marked the demise of Sonny and Cher’s marriage, and their TV series. Cher launched her own critically acclaimed variety program “The Cher Show,” but it only lasted two half seasons.

More Music and Second Marriage

The next few years saw Sonny and Cher briefly reunite on “The Sonny & Cher Show.” Cher’s popularity with critics and on the charts plummeted with her next three albums. She married Greg Allman and had a second child but was divorced again by decade’s end.

Film Success

Following a top ten disco hit off 1979’s Take Me Home, Cher collaborated with other artists and released more albums. Their disappointing sales prompted her to act again. Critical and commercial recognition followed, including a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in a James-Dean inspired film, an Oscar nod thanks to 1983’s “Silkwood,” and box office success with “Mask.”

Music and Movie Popularity

However, it was thanks to 1987’s “Moonstruck” that Cher won her first Oscar. That same year, her self-titled album became an international smash hit. The follow-up, Heart of Stone, went to the Billboard 200 top ten and produced a top three single, which was accompanied by a legendary music video.

Success in the 1990s

The ‘90s were a pivotal decade for Cher. After starring in “Mermaids,” and finding moderate success with Love Hurts and It’s a Man’s World, she made a Golden Globe-nominated turn in the TV movie “If These Walls Could Talk.” Cher also overcame her grief over Bono’s death to release her best-selling album ever. The dance-heavy Believe reached number four in the U.S. and produced the Grammy-winning title cut.

Twenty-First Century

The new millennium saw more well-received albums: and Living Proof. Cher also played a three-year residency as Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace, and appeared in the musical “Burlesque.”


Cher has done it all: success in music, film, and Broadway, plus her own perfume and much more. She’s become an idol in the gay community thanks to her timelessness and fearlessness in the face of tabloid scrutiny. She also became the only female solo artist to have top 10 hits in every decade between the ‘60s and the 2000s. With status as an artist and a superstar, this is one woman who only needs one name.

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