Friday, May 25, 2012

Sonny Bono. Remembering a C-Lister

You have to be over 50 I suppose to remember Sonny Bono.  He was one half of the Sonny and Cher duo that had a few top 40 hits and a modestly popular TV show in the late 60's and early 70's. 

Cher went on to greater fame, reaching B-List celebrity status with some decent movie roles.  Sonny, well, he was mostly her comedic foil.  He was short, he had less talent, he wore awful clothes.
Cher divorced him in 1975, although remarkably The Sonny and Cher show stumbled on a couple more years.

Sonny probably dipped down to D-Level status at that point, with small parts in bad movies, as well as appearing on both of the Grave Yards of Lost Careers, Fantasy Island and Love Boat.

But he was possessed of a certain pluck, was our friend Sonny, and following the path of Reagan and Eastwood he went into politics, becoming first Mayor of Palm Springs and finally a U.S. Congressman in 1994.

His political career was uneventful.

Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident in 1998.  The autopsy showed no drugs or alcohol in his system, he just ran into a tree.

I have always had a fondness for Sonny.  Lets face it, despite good looks and a strong voice Cher must have been atrocious as a wife.  That whole thing with his daughter/son Chastity/Chaz only got really weird after his death, but still.....  And rather remarkable in both the worlds of politics and celebrity, he never seems to have taken himself too seriously.  Referencing his rather unsuccessful solo singing career he would sometimes say when performing: "I'd like to play a medley of my Greatest Hit".

So Sonny had friends in this world and that counts for something. One of these friends, a local real estate developer named Geary Simon, kicked in $25,000 to renovate an 800 square foot patch of ground near Washington D.C.s Dupont Circle to serve as the Sonny Bono Memorial Park.

We made a pilgrimage there in April.  Here are some pictures.  Enjoy them and remember a man who remained cheerful through much adversity, a man who made the most of being on the C-List.

Sonny Bono Park.  At O Street NW and New Hampshire
Another view

An apple juice bottle stuck on the fence

The photo above was taken by my wife on our 30th anniversary.  I am contemplating how fleeting is fame, and indeed, is life itself.  Beneath the round memorial marker I understand there is a time capsule containing artifacts from Mr. Bono's career.  Darn, even his name has been appropriated by another singer.....
Remains of a modest fan tribute.  The most appropriate kind for a modest man.

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