Date of Birth: May 20, 1946
Cher, named Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPiere at birth, is well-known both as a singer and an actress. She was born in El Centro, California to John Sarkisian, a truck driver, and Georgia Holt (formerly Jackie Jean Crouch). Cher has one half-sister,Georganne LaPiere. Cher's mother, who wanted to be an actress and model herself, pushed Cher into acting despite Cher's undiagnosed dyslexia. Cher, who is part Cherokee, part French, quit school at the age of 16 to pursue a career in showbusiness.
She created a name for herself initially as a singer in the sixties along with Sonny Bono.The infamous duo, Sonny and Cher, became an icon of that era and reached great heights of popularity. During that time, she made cameos in a couple of feature films before starring alongside Sonny in the comedy spoof Good Times (1967), followed by the lead role in Chastity (1968), written and produced by Sonny. Their daughter, Chastity Bono, who was born in 1969, was named after the movie. Chastity made frequent appearances on her parents' shows, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour which ran from 1971 to 1974 and The Sonny and Cher Show, which ran for one season from 1976 to '77. Chastity mostly appeared at the end, to say goodnight with her parents. She underwent a sex change in 2009 and has since changed her name to Chaz Salvatore Bono.
In 1974, Cher wanted independence from Sonny and so the couple separated. In 1975 Cher married Greg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band. Although they had a son together in 1976, named Elijah Allman, the marriage quickly fell apart due to Allman's alleged drug use.
Eventually, Cher branched off from music and in 1982, made her motion picture breakthrough with Come back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. She was nominated for an Oscar in 1983 for Silkwood. 1987 proved to be a successful year for Cher. She starred in Suspect and The Witches of Eastwick, which was well-received by the audience and the Academy. She went on to win an Academy Award for her work in Moonstruck.
In January 1998, Sonny Bono was tragically killed in a skiing accident and in that same year, the pair received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Cher revived her musical career in 1998 with her biggest hit single, "Believe" and the song reached #1 in 23 different countries. Cher and Barbara Streisand are the only two Best Actress Oscar winners to have a #1 hit on the Billboard charts.
Although she did her three-year-long "Farewell Tour" in the early part of the millenium, she could not keep away from the stage and her music and so she returned to perform in Las Vegas' Caesar's Palace.
Cher has also been involved with many humanitarian groups and is the National Chairperson and Honorary Spokesperson of the Children's Craniofacial Association which was inspired by her 1985 movie, Mask.
Cher is well-known for her outrageous outfits and is often referred to as "The Goddess of Pop." She re-entered the acting scene in Burlesque, playing a former dancer and a burlesque lounge owner struggling to keep her establishment running and facing pressure from a wealthy businessman threatening to buy her out.