Sonny Bono was a multitalented entertainer and politician who became famous as a singer, songwriter, and actor. Born Salvatore Phillip in 1935, he died in 1998 at the age of 62 following a ski accident. Before his passing, he had already stamped his name in almost all aspects of his life thanks to his talent and hard work.
The late American is still remembered more than years after his death as a result of his many achievements including being the only member of the U.S Congress to have ever hit the number-one spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for pop. More than his career, he is also remembered for marrying 4 women during his lifetime, including Cher.
The Early Life of Sonny Bono
Although he was better known as Sonny Bono, it was as Salvatore Phillip that the celebrated American singer was born. He was born on February 16, 1935, in Detroit Michigan to his parents, Zena Jean DiMercurio and Sanato Bono.
Of American nationality and Italian ethnicity, his parents were originally from Italy. His father was born in Montelepre, Palermo, Italy. He was raised as the youngest of three kids alongside his two older sisters, Fran and Betty. The early life of Bono was stable until after he was 7 when the marriage between his parents came to an end.
For his education, he went to Inglewood High School where he studied for a while before later opting to drop out so he could concentrate on what he felt was his real-life calling, music. Before finally making it as a musician, he took several jobs including with a butcher house where he worked as a butcher assistant. He was also a truck driver, construction laborer, and waiter at different points.
He Was A Multitalented Singer And Actor
Sonny was still just a child when he fell in love with music and decided he wanted to become a singer. He started writing songs as a young teenager and before taking the mic himself, he started out as a songwriter.
Although he recorded some successes as a solo artist, his real fame was thanks to the group, Sonny & Cher which he formed with his wife, Cher.
They began as backup singers before later forming their band which gained attention with the 1965 song, Baby Don’t Go. The band lasted until 1977 during which they released several albums including Look at Us (1965), The Wondrous World of Sonny & Chér (1966), In Case You’re in Love (1967), and All I Ever Need Is You (1972).
Before the band ended, the pair sold more than 40 million records all over the world and had several awards and nominations including two Grammy Awards.
Sonny Bono is also an actor He has had TV and film roles in works including The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Murder on Flight 502, Airplane II: The Sequel, and P.S. I Luv U.
The Best Songs of Sonny Bono
The musical career of Sonny Bono lasted from 1963 until his death in 1998. During is active years, he released many songs that were acclaimed but his best include the following:
- I Got You Babe (1965)
- The Beat Goes On (1967)
- All I Ever Need Is You (1979)
- A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done (1972)
- Baby Dont Go (1965)
- What Now My Love (1966)
- But You’re Mine (1965)
- Just You (1965)
- When You Say Love (1972)
- It’s The Little Things (1967)
He Was Also A Politician
Sonny Bono was not only an entertainer, he was also a politician who was in the Republican party. He started politics in the late 1980s when he first bid and succeeded in becoming the 16th Mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992.
He vied for the United States Senate in 1992 but did not secure his party’s nomination. Three years later, he was elected into Congress in 1994 and served as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 44th district from January 1995 to January 1998 when he tragically passed away.
Meet The Wives of Sonny Bono
5 feet 5 inches tall, Sonny Bono was married four times during his lifetime. His first marriage was to Donna Rankin and it lasted for only a few years from from 1954 to 1962 when they divorced. Their union was blessed with a daughter, Christine Bono who was born on 24 June 1958.
After his first marriage came to an end, the next woman that became Sonny Bono’s wife was Cher. Born Cherilyn Sarkisian, Cher got married to Bono in 1964 and they had a relationship that went from personal to professional thanks to their joint musical and TV careers. The union was blessed with a son, Chaz Bono who was born on March 4, 1969. Sadly, the marriage ended in divorce in 1975.
Sonny did not get married again until 1981 when he walked down the aisle with TV personality, author, and businesswoman, Susie Coelho. The pair got married in 1981 but after only 3 years, they walked their separate ways in divorce.
Sonny tried marriage for yet another time two years after his divorce when he married Mary Whitaker in 1986. This marriage remained his longest and Mary Bono remained his wife until 1998 when he died. Their marriage was blessed with two children Chesare Bono and Chianna Bono.
How Sonny Bono Died
Sonny Bono lost his life on January 5, 1998, after he had an accident while skiing in California. The avid skier was said to have gone missing while skiing before his body was later found by a search and rescue team.
According to reports, he was going between 20 and 30 miles per hour when he hit a tree, leading to his passing. He was laid to rest at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California