Cher; born Cherilyn Sarkisian; May
20, 1946) is an American singer and actress. Called the Goddess of Pop,
she is described as embodying female autonomy in a male-dominated
industry. She is known for her distinctive contralto singing voice and for
having worked in numerous areas of entertainment, as well as adopting a
variety of styles and appearances during her five-decade-long career.
Cher gained popularity in 1965 as one-half of the folk rock husband-wife
duo Sonny & Cher after their song "I Got You Babe" reached number one on
the American and British charts. She began her solo career simultaneously,
releasing in 1966 her first million-seller song, "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot
Me Down)". She became a television personality in the 1970s with her shows
The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, watched by over 30 million viewers weekly
during its three-year run, and Cher. She emerged as a fashion trendsetter
by wearing elaborate outfits on her television shows. While working on
television, she established herself as a solo artist with the U.S.
Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping singles "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves",
"Half-Breed", and "Dark Lady". After her divorce from Sonny Bono in 1975,
Cher launched a comeback in 1979 with the disco-oriented album Take Me
Home and earned $300,000 a week for her 1980–82 residency show in Las
In 1982, Cher made her Broadway debut in the play Come Back to the Five
and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and starred in the film adaptation of the
same title. She subsequently earned critical acclaim for her performances
in films such as Silkwood (1983), Mask (1985), and Moonstruck (1987), for
which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She then revived her
musical career by recording the rock-inflected albums Cher (1987), Heart
of Stone (1989), and Love Hurts (1991), all of which yielded several
successful singles. She reached a new commercial peak in 1998 with the
album Believe, whose title track became the biggest-selling single of all
time by a female artist in the UK; it features the pioneering use of
Auto-Tune, also known as the "Cher effect". Her 2002–05 Living Proof: The
Farewell Tour became one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all
time, earning $250 million. In 2008, she signed a $180 million deal to
headline the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for three years.
After seven years of absence, she returned to film in the 2010 musical
Burlesque. Cher's first studio album in 12 years, Closer to the Truth
(2013), became her highest-charting solo album in the U.S. to date at
Cher has won a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, an Academy Award, three Golden
Globe Awards, a Cannes Film Festival Award, and a special CFDA Fashion
Award, among several other honors. Throughout her career, she has sold 100
million records worldwide. She is the only artist to date to have a
number-one single on a Billboard chart in each decade from the 1960s to
the 2010s. Outside of her music and acting, she is noted for her political
views, philanthropic endeavors and social activism, including LGBT rights
and HIV/AIDS prevention.
I don't like my voice that
much. I think I'm a much better actress than singer. Singing is like
going to a party at someone else's house. Acting is like having the
party at your own house.
When you go to someone else's house for a party, it's not your
responsibility at all, but when you have the party at your own
house, there's a lot of responsibility. Everyone has to have a good
time. So for me, acting is deeper.
In this business, you have to be tough, and if someone pushes me
really far, I can certainly be impossible. I've always said, "If
you're nice, they walk over you, and if you stand up for yourself,
they call you a bitch".
I'm not a role model, nor have I ever tried to be a role model. The
only thing about me as a role model is I've managed to stay here and
be working and survive. For 40 years.
I'm like a bumper car. When I did an infomercial I was fodder for
every TV comedy show. I couldn't get a job. People said I was a huge
joke. I've been a joke so many times. I've been on my way out since
I started, but I'm strong-willed. My mother is so much tougher than
I am and my grandmother is so much tougher than my mother.
I haven't a clue why I've lasted so long. There's no reason. There
are many people more talented than me. I think it's luck.