Cherilyn Sarkisian

Biography of Cherilyn Sarkisian

Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian; May 20, 1946) is an American singer, actress, television personality, director, record producer and entrepreneur. Well known for having worked extensively across media, she has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival for her work in film, music and television. She is the only person in history to receive all of these awards. Referred to as the Goddess of Pop for being an influential figure in popular culture, she is also known for continuously reinventing both her music and image, her distinctive contralto, the considerable eclecticism of her work and her imagery which have been known to induce controversy.

Cher first caught the eye and ear of the public in 1965 as one-half of the pop rock duo Sonny & Cher, which have popularized a peculiar smooth sound that competed successfully with the predominant British Invasion and Motown Sound of the era. After a period in which the duo became obsolete thanks to the rise of the drug culture, she re-emerged in the 1970s as a television personality with her shows The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and Cher. With the latter, she became a fashion trendsetter with her daring Bob Mackie-designed outfits, and was noted as being the first woman to expose her navel on television. At the same time, she established herself as a solo artist with chart-topping hits such as "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)", "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves", "Half-Breed", and "Dark Lady". After the duo separated in 1975, she had successful delves into disco music before becoming a top-earning live act in Las Vegas.

In the early 1980s, Cher made a critically acclaimed appearance on Broadway and starred in the film Silkwood, which earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1983. In the following years, she established herself as one of the most acclaimed film actresses of the decade, starring in a string of hit films that includes Mask, The Witches of Eastwick, and Moonstruck, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1988. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, she made a musical comeback by releasing a series of multi-platinum rock albums and hit singles such as "I Found Someone", "If I Could Turn Back Time", and "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)". After facing professional struggles by appearing in a series of cosmetic infomercials in the mid-1990s, she returned to popularity by making her directing debut in the film If These Walls Could Talk (1996) and releasing the biggest-selling single of her career, "Believe", which was also the best-selling single of 1998 and 1999. Cher ended her three-year-long Living Proof: The Farewell Tour in 2005 as the most successful tour by a female artist at that time. In 2008, she signed a US $60 million per-year deal with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to perform a series of shows titled Cher at the Colosseum, which ended in February 2011.

Biographer Mark Bego says of her impact: "No one in the history of show business has had a career of the magnitude and scope of Cher's". Called "an authentic feminist hero" by Ms. magazine and the "Queen of the Comeback" by The New York Times, she has been praised by critics for first bringing the sense of reinvention and self-actualization into entertainment industry. She has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and is recognized as one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She is the only artist to have notched a number-one single on a Billboard chart in each of the past six decades.

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