FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Image(NEW YORK) — Even Cher can’t turn back time: the legendary diva turns 70 today.
One of the top-selling female recording artists in history, Cher’s the only artist ever to score a #1 single on a Billboard chart in the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, 2000s and 2010s. That six-decade career means she has multiple generations of fans — though she claims she doesn’t understand why.
“What I see more than anything else is when I’m on tour, I see people carrying children on their shoulders,” Cher told ABC Radio a few years ago. “And then, when we were in Vancouver Island, a woman on TV…it was her 90th birthday and she [said] she wanted to spend it at my concert. And I just thought, “You know, you go girl!’
“I don’t really understand it,” she says. “I’m thankful, I’m blessed, but I don’t really understand it at all.”
Among Cher’s most loyal fans over the years have been gay men.
“I think it must have been at the beginning of The Sonny and Cher Show,” she says, when asked why. “I mean that’s when I really became more aware of it. And I think it started out as a kind of a clothes thing, but after the clothes thing…my attitude was so ‘gay icon-y,’ you know. And then when Sonny and I broke up, for some reason the levels just rose. Maybe because I got to be more myself.”
Whatever the reason, Cher’s grateful for their support. “They are so loyal. I just thank God for them during all these years of having, you know, ups and downs that would choke a horse. …[W]e just have a love affair that I don’t think is ever gonna stop.”
Cher’s most recent album, 2013’s Closer to the Truth, was the highest-charting solo album of her career in the U.S. A talented actress as well as a powerhouse vocalist, she has an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy, and three Golden Globe Awards on her trophy shelf.
In addition, Cher’s tours are always sellouts — her Living Proof: Farewell Tour was, for a time, the highest-grossing tour ever by a solo artist, before Madonna beat her record. Sadly, she was forced to cut short her Dressed to Kill tour in 2014 due to health problems, but it was still a smash, money-wise.
In her 70 years, Cher has proved to be the consummate entertainer, conquering the worlds of music, movies and TV, and both causing and surviving controversy. A noted philanthropist and social activist, she’s also been a strong advocate for many causes, including animal rights, veterans and wounded soldiers, HIV/AIDS Prevention and — as the mother of a transgender son, Chaz — LGBT rights.
Earlier this year, Cher also helped donate over 180,000 bottles of water to Flint, Michigan after its drinking water was found to be contaminated.
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