Cher has been an entertaining powerhouse for the past fifty years. Known equally for her powerful singing voice, her diverse and impressive acting range, her provocative appearance, and her outspoken politics, she has worked hard to make herself the woman she is now. Yet her career has been marked by the highest highs and the lowest lows, which are examined in detail in a new two hour documentary debuting Sunday night (9 PM EST/6PM PST) on Reelz, Cher: Do You Believe?
Born Cherilyn Sarkisian to an American mother and Armenian father, from a young age Cher faced certain issues of self-doubt and insecurity. Her olive complexion differed radically from that of her mother and half-sister, who were blonde-haired and blue-eyed, while her father was a junkie and an absentee parent for most of her early childhood. It didn’t help that she was taunted by her classmates, nor did an incident where a border guard questioned her identity after a family trip to Mexico, blurting out that she didn’t look like the rest of her family, a painful public shaming she would never forget.
Cher wasn’t naturally drawn to the life of an entertainer, thanks to her shyness. Her mother had been an aspiring actress herself, losing out on a big break to an acquaintance named Marilyn Monroe. Yet when Cher met a peculiar little man named Sonny Bono, her life changed. An aspiring musician and singer who was eleven years older than the teenaged Cher, he saw something in her no one else saw. As a result, he became her biggest fan and cheerleader, encouraging her to join in during recording sessions for Phil Spector, as well as suggesting that they form a singing duo. Even though their singing career got off to a slow start, when it finally did take off, they became international stars.
Yet the success was short-lived, thanks to the changing times and their hardline anti-drug stance. They may have faded, but for Cher this was the beginning of a career-long trend: the highest heights, followed by deep valleys, only to find her coming back swinging even harder and going even further than before. Cher: Do You Believe? documents these amazing swings, offering fresh insights into them that some might not know about, such as the response she received when secretly watching her debut major motion picture Silkwood in a crowded theatre or the way she felt about the song “Believe” when it was first offered to her.
Cher’s no-nonsense approach to life has always raised eyebrows, but Cher: Do You Believe? offers up a compelling and in-depth look into this complex, frustrating, and extremely talented woman’s fantastic fifty-year career.