Began in the music biz in the 1950s as a promotion man at Specialty Records, where he worked with Sam Cooke, Larry Williams and Little Richard.
Moved in the early '60s to Phillies Records, where he became a protégé of famed producer Phil Spector.
Cowrote the classic "Needles and Pins," which became a hit for the Searchers in 1964.
Met Cher when she was 16 after she'd moved to L.A. looking for fame; he gave her a place to sleep and found her session work at Gold Star.
First recorded with Cher as "Caesar and Cleo."
Wrote, arranged and produced the classic Sonny & Cher hits "I Got You Babe" and "The Beat Goes On."
Penned the script for the 1967 Sonny & Cher movie Good Times.
The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour debuted as a summer variety series in 1971 before landing on the network's regular schedule in January 1972. It aired until 1974, when news of their impending divorce broke.
Worked with Cher post-divorce in 1976 and '77 when they regrouped for The Sonny & Cher Show; also reunited for a one-off reunion on Late Night With David Letterman in 1987.
Decided to enter politics after encountering much red tape while trying to get a bigger sign for his Palm Springs restaurant; he ran for mayor in 1988 and won.
Ran for the U.S. Senate in 1992, but lost; ran for Congress two years later and won.
Died in a tragic skiing accident.
1972, Emmy — Outstanding Single Program - Variety or Musical (Variety and Popular Music): Nominee