Pop icon Cher isn’t going quietly into retirement
The voice. The fashion. The staying power.
Over a career spanning six decades that has included dozens of hits, critically acclaimed acting roles and an influence over popular culture rivaled only by a few, Cher has personified the word “icon.”
Now, at age 67, she’s embarking on another tour, giving fans a glimpse into her world of treasured chart toppers, flamboyant costumes and general spectacle. Anyone who’s ever seen Cher live knows her show is an intriguing mix of music, elaborate staging and intimate moments when the performer shares her signature wit and stories with the audience.
Fans of Cher also know this might not be the last we see of her. Her “Living Proof: The Farewell Tour” spanned three years and included more than 300 shows. It’s commonly referred to as the “Never Can Say Goodbye” tour. With Cher’s current tour and latest album, “Closer to the Truth,” released just last year, it’s clear she can’t say goodbye. And her fans are more than happy to let the beat go on.
Cher’s career began at 16, when the aspiring actress met singer-songwriter (and future husband) Sonny Bono. The pair collaborated for years before their song “I Got You Babe” propelled them into the spotlight.
From there, Cher’s solo music career included many chart-topping hits. From early releases such as “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves,” “Half-Breed” and “Dark Lady,” to the disco smash “Take Me Home,” ballads such as “After All” and dance tracks “Believe” and “Strong Enough,” Cher has proven her ability to remain relevant and inventive.
Hits like “If I Could Turn Back Time,” “Just Like Jesse James” and “I Found Someone” were high on the charts in the ’80s, and, after more than 30 years producing popular music, Cher had her biggest success at age 52 in 1999 with the release of “Believe.” The song hit No. 1 in 23 countries. Her “Do You Believe?” tour included 121 performances, and soon after, she announced her retirement from touring with “Living Proof” in 2002.
Yet, calling it quits was not in the cards, and Cher’s latest album, “Closer to the Truth,” debuted in 2013. She performed the first single, “Woman’s World,” last June on “The Voice.”
TV and movies
Some audiences first came to know Cher as one-half of the “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour,” a variety show that aired from 1971 to 1974. When it ended, the couple parted ways and Cher had her own show for a short time before they reunited (onscreen, not as a married couple). She also had several successful television specials.
But while viewers loved her sharp wit, silly skits and flamboyant fashion on TV, her movie roles truly earned her real credibility in the acting community.
Her films include “Silkwood” opposite Meryl Streep, a performance that garnered her a best-supporting-actress Oscar nomination; “Mask” in 1985; “The Witches of Eastwick ” and “Suspect” in 1987; “Mermaids,” in 1990; “Tea With Mussolini” in 1999; and “Burlesque” in 2010.
Her turn as an Italian woman in love with her fiance’s brother in “Moonstruck” earned her an Academy Award for best actress.
She’s had several notable TV cameos over the years, appearing on “Will & Grace,” “Dancing With the Stars” and more. She also made a documentary, “Dear Mom, Love Cher,” about her relationship with mom Georgia Holt.
From the second she stepped into the spotlight, Cher’s unique fashion sense has been part of her celebrity. Alongside Bono, she donned big vests, bold prints and bell-bottoms in the ’60s, creating a style that defined a generation.
After her show took off in the ’70s, so did Cher’s wardrobe. Her elaborate costumes mesmerized audiences, and she became the muse for noted designer Bob Mackie. The black gown and spiky headdress he designed for her appearance at the 58th Academy Awards is one of the most recognizable in history, as was the similarly revealing one she wore during her best-actress win in 1988. Mackie and Cher worked together for decades, but the singer tweeted in March that he would not work on her current tour because of other obligations. Instead, designer Hugh Durant has taken on the task.
Her “Turn Back Time” sheer body stocking was so risque at the time, some channels would show the video only between certain hours. She’s long been a lover of wigs, and while straight black locks are perhaps her most well-known look, her headwear has ranged from the tame to the extreme, curly, straight, red, white, long, short and everything in between.
Cher remains a style icon today, still influencing generations of performers.
After her divorce from Bono, Cher went on to date everyone from celebrities like Tom Cruise and Richie Sambora to Rob Camilletti, a bagel-shop worker 20 years her junior.
Cher has two children. Her son Elijah Blue Allman is from her marriage to musician Gregg Allman in 1975. Her daughter, Chastity Bono, from her marriage to Bono, underwent female-to-male gender transition in 2008 and now goes by the name Chaz.
Cher reunited briefly with Sonny on “The Late Show with David Letterman” a few years before Bono died in a skiing accident in 1998. Despite having not been involved with him for years, Cher eulogized Bono, calling the experience “probably the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or [email protected].
Cher solo discography
“All I Really Want to Do” (1965)
“The Sonny Side of Cher” (1966)
“With Love, Cher” (1968)
“3614 Jackson Highway” (1969)
“Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” (1971)
“Foxy Lady” (1972)
“Bittersweet White Light” (1973)
“Dark Lady” (1974)
“I’d Rather Believe in You” (1976)
“Take Me Home” (1979)
“I Paralyze” (1982)
“Heart of Stone” (1989)
“Love Hurts” (1991)
“It’s a Man’s World” (1995)
“Living Proof” (2001)
“Closer to the Truth” (2013)