When Did Sonny Bono Die?

By: MRT Desk

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When Did Sonny Bono Die?

Sonny Bono, the former husband of Cher and a prominent California lawmaker, tragically died on January 5, 1998, in a skiing accident. He was on vacation with his family at the Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe, California, when the accident occurred. Bono, who was 62 years old at the time, had gone skiing alone and was reported missing several hours later. His body was found that evening, and it was determined that he had skied into a wooded area and hit a tree, resulting in massive head injuries.

Sonny Bono’s Life and Career

Sonny Bono was born Salvatore Phillip Bono on February 16, 1935, in Detroit. He moved to Los Angeles at a young age and began his career as a songwriter and singer at Specialty Records. He later teamed up with songwriter Phil Spector and sang backup for the Righteous Brothers. Bono’s life took a significant turn when he met 16-year-old Cherilyn Sarkasian, with whom he made several recordings. Their 1965 hit song “I Got You Babe” catapulted them to fame.

Bono and Cher married in 1969 and had a child together named Chastity, who is now known as Chaz. The couple’s TV show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, premiered in 1971 and ran until 1974. After their divorce, Bono embarked on a political career, becoming the mayor of Palm Springs in 1988. He later won a seat in the House of Representatives in 1994 and served until his untimely death in 1998.

Sonny Bono’s Political Career

Despite being a latecomer to politics, Bono quickly made a name for himself in the political arena. He was elected mayor of Palm Springs in 1988 and ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1992. In 1994, he won a seat in the House of Representatives as part of a Republican victory in the House. Bono was known for his conservative agenda but also reached across party lines and formed friendships with prominent liberals such as Barney Frank.

During his time in Congress, Bono focused on issues such as extending copyright laws and addressing the environmental damage caused by salt mining operations in the Salton Sea. After his death, his widow, Mary Bono, completed the remainder of his term in the House.

The Tragic Skiing Accident

Sonny Bono’s skiing accident occurred less than a week after another high-profile skiing accident that killed Michael Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy. Bono was skiing alone on the afternoon of January 5, 1998, when he went missing. His family, including his wife Mary and their young son and daughter, became concerned and reported him missing. His body was found later that evening, and it was determined that he had collided with a tree, resulting in fatal head injuries.

The Aftermath and Legacy

Sonny Bono’s death shocked the nation and left a void in both the entertainment and political worlds. His funeral was attended by prominent figures such as Cher, President Bill Clinton, and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Mary Bono, his widow, continued to be involved in politics and completed the remainder of his term in the House.

Sonny Bono’s legacy extends beyond his career in entertainment and politics. He was a beloved figure in Palm Springs, where he founded the Palm Springs International Film Festival. His contributions to the community and his dedication to causes such as the Salton Sea continue to be remembered.

In conclusion, Sonny Bono’s life was tragically cut short in a skiing accident on January 5, 1998. He transitioned from a successful entertainer to a respected lawmaker and made significant contributions to both the entertainment industry and the political landscape. His legacy lives on through his family and the impact he made in Palm Springs and beyond.

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