Sonny Bono (born on February 16, 1935 - died January 5, 1998) appeared as himself, on the hit NBC-TV sitcom series The Golden Girls in season 6. Sonny, was an American recording artist and producer, who came to fame in partnership with his second wife Cher, as the popular singing duo Sonny & Cher. He was also mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992, and congressman for California's 44th district from 1994 until his death in a skiing accident while still in office.
Bono began his music career working at Specialty Records where his song "Things You Do to Me" was recorded by Sam Cooke, and went on to work for the record producer Phil Spector in the early 1960s as a promotion man, percussionist and "gofer". One of his earliest songwriting efforts was "Needles and Pins" which he co-wrote with Jack Nitzsche, another member of Spector's production team. Later in the same decade, he achieved commercial success, along with his then-wife Cher, as part of the singing duo Sonny and Cher. Bono wrote, arranged, and produced a number of hit records with singles like "I Got You Babe" and "The Beat Goes On", although Cher received more attention as a performer. He also played a major part in Cher's early solo career with recordings such as "Bang Bang" and "You Better Sit Down Kids".
Bono co-wrote the song "She Said Yeah", which was covered by The Rolling Stones on their 1965 LP "December's Children" Bono also recorded as a solo artist under the name of Sonny. He had only one hit single as a solo artist, "Laugh at Me". "Laugh at Me" was released in 1965 and peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. In live concerts, Bono would sing the song with an introduction of, "I'd like to sing a medley of my hit." His only other single as a solo artist was a follow-up release, "The Revolution Kind", which reached number 70 on the Billboard Hot 100 later that same year. Bono also recorded an unsuccessful Sonny album titled Inner Views in 1967.
Sonny continued to work with Cher through the early and mid-1970s starring in a popular television variety show, The Sonny and Cher Show, which ran on CBS from 1971 to 1974. From 1976 to 1977, the couple returned to performing together on The Sonny and Cher Show despite being divorced. Their last appearance together was on Late Night with David Letterman on November 13, 1987, when they sang "I Got You Babe".
Bono continued his acting career, doing bit roles in such shows as Fantasy Island and The Love Boat. He played the part of mad bomber Joe Selucci in Airplane II: The Sequel (1982) and in the 1986 horror movie Troll. Bono also played the part of Franklin Von Tussle in the 1988 John Waters film Hairspray. In the 1997 film Men in Black, Bono is one of several oddball celebrities seen on a wall of video screens that monitor extraterrestrials living among us. He also appeared in several episodes of P.S. I Luv U starring Connie Sellecca and Greg Evigan during the 1991–92 TV season as the Mayor of Palm Springs [which he really was at the time]. His last acting role was in the television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (Season 1, Episode 9, originally aired on November 21, 1993), in which he played the Mayor Frank Berkowitz. He also made a minor appearance as himself in the 1996 film First Kid.
Sonny poked a little fun at himself when he guest-starred on The Golden Girls, in the episode "Mrs. George Devereaux", aired November 17, 1990, as himself vying with Lyle Waggoner for Dorothy's (Bea Arthur) affection in a dream, where Blanche (Rue McClanahan) dreams her husband is still alive. In the dream, Sonny uses his power as mayor of Palm Springs, California to have Waggoner falsely arrested just so he can have Dorothy to himself. Later on, after Blanche awakens from the dream, Dorothy is thrilled to learn she picked Sonny this time.
- "Sonny Bono – Inner Views – from Rhino Handmade". Rhinohandmade.com. http://www.rhinohandmade.com/browse/ProductLink.lasso?Number=7704. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
- "Sonny & Cher Boost Ratings". The New Mexican. Santa Fe, New Mexico. November 29, 1987, p. 35, accessed through NewspaperARCHIVE.com on March 13, 2009.
- "Sonny and Cher Reunited on David Letterman Show." Aiken Standard. Aiken, South Carolina. November 15, 1987. p. 3. accessed through NewspaperARCHIVE.com on March 13, 2009.