Cher and Television: The Pop Star Outside of Variety Shows, Including Spots on 'Scooby-Doo,' 'Will & Grace' and More
Cher has had a wildly successfully career as a television performer as well as in film and music (obviously). To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the premiere of her variety show Cher, we look back at all of the TV appearances the vocalist made as a fictional character or a fictional version of herself, not counting the several variety shows she hosted with husband Sonny Bono.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1967)
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. has to be one of the greatest '60s television programs in terms of cheese. It was basically a television version of James Bond, balancing its relative lack of special effects budget with three times as much attractive actresses to make up for it (David McCallum, known to modern audiences as Ducky on NCIS, played one of the leads). Cher plays Ramona, a model who happens to have worn a dress with a code from THRUSH (the villainous organization within the show), who can't remember what she did with the garment during "The Hot Number Affair" (all episodes were "affairs" of some sort). Shenanigans ensue. She's one of the few women not bedded by the protagonists in the show's history, as Sunny Bono also stars, appearing as the cutter responsible for handling fabric for the shop she works for. We can't find a free version of the episode online, but you can check out this six-minute highlight reel to get an idea what was going on in the series.
Love, American Style (1971)
Love, American Style was a sketch, or at least mini-episode-based series that told stories of love in the United States and usually did so in a comedic manner, and aired alongside more renowned titles such as The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. Cher, and again Bono, appeared as themselves during the 1971 segment "Love and The Sack." Again, it's tough to find clips legally but researching the plot of the episode was interesting. First description: "Cher takes delivery of a moaning sack." That...sounds...interesting. More specific description: "Sonny loved Cher & mailed himself to her." We only wish we knew more.
The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972)
By this point during the '70s, Scooby Doo had gone Hollywood and was capitalizing on its popularity. The series New Scooby-Doo Movies featured an B-list celebrity guest star in every episode, including Don Knotts and multiple (iconic) appearances from The Harlem Globetrotters. Sonny and Cher came together for the 1972 episode "The Secret of Shark Island," which is about as good a Scooby-Doo title as any. The episode surrounds a (spoiler alert) illegal gold smelting operation involving Pescado Diabolico (or "Shark God") and the Shark Men. Why Mystery Inc. (which is what the gang was going by at that point) has teamed up with Sonny and Cher is anyone's guess but she gets great lines such as "I could have sworn that unidentified flying object was identifiable."
If These Walls Could Talk (1996)
It would be nearly 25 years before Cher was on television again, at least not portraying herself in a concert setting, and boy were the circumstances different behind this shoot: HBO aired If These Walls Could Talk as a three-part made-for-TV movie that dealt with three women dealing with abortion during different eras. Cher played abortion doctor Beth Thompson during the (then modern) rendition, who is to carry out a procedure with protagonist Christine Cullen (played by Anne Heche). The procedure is interrupted by a violent protester who enters the clinic and shoots the doctor in the middle of the operation. The vocalist was awarded with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role within the movie.
Will & Grace (2000)
Alright let's lighten things up again. Cher made two appearances on Will & Grace during its run, the first being on the episode "Gypsies, Tramps and Weed." A side plot features Jack, the self-proclaimed world's biggest Cher fan, toting around a doll of the pop star around at all times, even getting it a booster seat at restaurants. He then encounters the real Cher, whom he believes to be a drag queen. Despite her best attempts to persuade him (including a performance of "If I Could Turn Back Time"), he remains unconvinced. She would later return for a spot in the 2002 episode "A.I.: Artificial Insemination."