August 1, 1971: 'The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour' Premiered on TV

Sonny Bono and Cher
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    August 1, 1971: 'The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour' Premiered on TV

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      Sari Rosenberg

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      August 1, 1971: 'The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour' Premiered on TV

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      February 24, 2020

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      A+E Networks

On August 1, 1971, “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour” premiered on TV. Starring husband-and-wife duo Sonny Bono and Cher, each episode of their Emmy-nominated show included playful banter between the pair, comedy sketches and, of course, a performance of their signature classic, “I Got You Babe.” Throughout the 1960s, Sonny and Cher were a music sensation, known as much for their catchy pop songs as for their cutting-edge style. However, by the end of the decade, they saw their popularity waning. The 1971 debut of their show put them back in the spotlight…and onto the music charts.

Before attaining international fame and fortune, Cher was born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946, in El Centro, CA. At an early age, she felt an affinity to the entertainment world. Raised by their single mother, Cher and her sister grew up in poverty. At 16, Cher left high school for Hollywood where she soon met her other half, Salvatore “Sonny” Bono. The couple unofficially married in 1964 – they made it official in 1969 – and made music together throughout the 1960s, including “I Got You Babe” and “The Beat Goes On.”

They went on to create their popular variety show, “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour,” which stayed on the air until 1974 when they broke off their marriage. Aside from generating many hit songs for the pair, Cher was able to showcase her own brand of comedy. For example, in her Vamp sketches, Cher played some of history’s most legendary women, including Cleopatra and Marlene Dietrich. Post-divorce, Cher went on to star in her own Emmy-nominated variety show in 1975.

After her divorce from Bono, Cher emerged as a superstar solo singer and film actress. She topped the charts in the early 1970s as a solo artist with provocative songs like “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” and “Half-Breed.” Then, in the 1980s and 1990s, she churned out a number of pop-rock hits, including “I Found Someone” and “If I Could Turn Back Time.”

While rocking the airwaves in the 1980s and 1990s, Cher also became a respected, award-winning actress. After starring in “Silkwood” and “The Witches of Eastwick,” she won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “Moonstruck.”

With her Top 40 pop hit, “The Shoop Shoop Song,” from her 1990 film “Mermaids,” Cher started to branch out into a less rock-dominated sound, culminating with her 1998 album, “Believe.” Aside from generating the hit song “Believe,” her song “Strong Enough” also became an empowering dance floor classic.

At 72 years old, Cher is receiving high praise for her cameo appearance in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” Inspired by the film, Cher recently announced she plans to release her own album of ABBA cover songs.

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