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Sonny Bono, a Chronology

January 07, 1998|NONA YATES

* 1935: Born Salvatore Bono in Detroit Feb. 16. Family moves to Inglewood when he is seven. Attends but does not graduate from Inglewood High School.

* 1950s: Works variety of odd jobs including truck driver and waiter. His professional music career began as singer and songwriter at Dig Records, owned by R&B legend Johnny Otis. First marriage ends in divorce after one child, Christy.

* 1960s: Meets future wife Cher while working with legendary record producer Phil Spector, where Bono sang backup for groups such as the Ronettes and the Righteous Brothers.

* 1964-1969: He and Cher marry in 1964. Daughter Chastity is born 1969. The wildly dressed, couple has a string of hits, beginning with "Baby Don't Go" in 1964 and including a No. 1 song, 1965's "I Got You Babe." Other hits follow, including "All I Really Want to Do," and "The Beat Goes On," a rock classic.

* 1971-1974: They star in the hit "Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" on CBS. Sonny playing straight man to Cher. They divorced in 1974.

* 1982-1995: As a restaurateur he successfully created Bono's, a popular Italian eatery in Palm Springs. He marries Susie Coelho in 1981; they are divorced in 1984.

* 1986: Married Mary Whitaker; they have two children, Chesare Elanborn, born in 1988, and Chianna Maria, born in 1991.

* 1988-1992: Mayor of Palm Springs. Instituts the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

* 1992: Fails in a primary bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

* 1994: Is elected to U.S. House of Representatives as Republican from Palm Springs. Serves on Judiciary and Banking and Financial Service committees.

* 1996: Reelected to Congress.

* 1997: Contrary to expectations, announces he will not run for Senate seat in 1998.

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