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Musician and politician Sonny Bono was once wed to singer Cher and in 1994 was elected to U.S. Congress as a representative from California.
Actors Turned Politicians (2:48)
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As Ronald Reagan asked, "How can a president NOT be an actor?" Since Reagan, celebrities such as Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger have entered the political arena and run for elected office.
Learn how Cher became the international superstar she is today.
Sonny Bono got his start in the music industry as Phil Spector's right hand man in the studio.
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Born in Detriot, Michigan, in 1935, Sonny Bono started his career as a singer in the mid-1960s with then-girlfriend Cher. Their biggest hit was "I Got You Babe." Bono's singing career waned, but he stepped back into the public eye when he became mayor of Palm Springs, California in 1988. In 1994, he was elected to Congress as a representative from California's 44th Congressional District. He unexpectedly died in a skiing accident in 1998.
The last thing in the world I thought I would be is a U.S. Congressman, given all the bobcat vests and Eskimo boots I used to wear.
I feel kind of like the black sheep in Congress, but here I am.
Born Salvatore Phillip Bono on February 16, 1935, in Detroit, Michigan, Sonny Bono began his music career as a songwriter and singer for Johnny Otis's Dig Records label in the early 1960s. He was the son of immigrants from Sicily. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was around seven years old.
A high school dropout, Bono took on a number of jobs while trying to make it as a songwriter. He worked as a waiter, a truck driver and a construction worker before making it in the music business. Bono's career eventually took off and he worked with the likes of Sam Cooke and Phil Spector.
In early 1960s, Bono's life changed after meeting a young woman named Cherilyn Sarkisian, better known as Cher. The couple formed a professional and personal partnership that became part of entertainment history. They scored their greatest hit of their career in 1965 with "I Got You Babe," which went to the top of the pop charts. Sonny and Cher had married the previous year. It was Bono's second marriage.
More hits followed over the next few years with such songs as "Baby Don't Go" and "The Beat Goes On." Sonny and Cher also became a popular nightclub act. Their shows combined singing with comedy and featured Sonny as the straight man to Cher's light-hearted jibes. The duo took their entertaining stage personas to the small screen, appearing in The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour beginning during the summer of 1971. Sometimes the couple's young daughter, Chastity (now known as Chaz Bono), would appear on the show. The program enjoyed great popularity for several years before going off the air in 1974. While Sonny and Cher split up in 1975, they tried to recapture their television success with another show in 1976. This latest effort failed to generate strong ratings.
While his music and acting career faded after parting ways with Cher, Bono soon found a new vocation. The former showman had transformed himself into a conservative Republican. He entered the political arena, running for mayor of Palm Springs, California, in the late 1980s. Bono won that post, serving as the town from 1988 to 1992.
Before long, Bono set his sights on national office. He made an unsuccessful run for the Senate in 1992. Two years later, Bono was elected to Congress as a Representative from California's 44th Congressional District. He became a popular figure within the Republican Party, known for his wit and his deeply conservative views.
On January 5, 1998, Bono was on holiday with his fourth wife Mary Whitaker Bono and their two children.
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Cher met Sonny Bono when she was 16 and he was 27. The two began dating, and Sonny got his girlfriend gigs as a backup singer on songs like the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" and Darlene Love's "A Fine, Fine Boy." The two formed their own musical duo, and in 1965 they released their biggest hit, "I Got You Babe." The couple had their only child, Chaz Bono, in 1969. In 1971 Sonny and Cher launched their own TV show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. The variety show was a success, but the couple's marriage fell apart, ending in a bitter 1975 divorce. When Bono died in a ski accident in 1998, Cher delivered a tearful eulogy.
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Lot of actors play politicians on the big and small screens, but few have made the transition in real life. At every level of government, there are actors who have used their charisma, good looks, and personalities to get the policies they support enacted. Though Hollywood has a reputation as a city of liberals, many conservative actors have been members of the Republican party. From Ronald Reagan to Sonny Bono, here's a look at famous actors who went on to careers in politics.
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Life imitates art in Hollywood, where passionate romances turn into short-lived marriages and quickie divorces. Numerous nuptials are one of the hallmarks of the celebrity lifestyle. Hollywood royalty Elizabeth Taylor married eight times—even more than real royalty King Henry VIII, who married six times. Here's a look at the famous individuals who tied the knot—and then tied it again, and again, and again.
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