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Cher tearfully eulogizes Sonny Bono

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Jan. 9 -- Entertainer Cher said that preparing a eulogy for her former husband, Calif. Congressman Sonny Bono, was 'probably the most important thing I've ever done in my life. ' The actress-singer tearfully told the crowd today at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Palm Springs that her former singing partner was in 'some place loving' the fact that she'd spent the past 48 hours writing the eulogy. Cher credited Bono with taking an introverted 16-year-old girl and creating the act that made the two of them 'the most beloved couple of our generation.' She said, 'He had the confidence to be the butt of the joke because he created the joke.' She called him 'the most unforgettable character I've ever met,' and said that would never change no matter how long she lives or who she meets. Her eulogy was more somber than those given by House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Calif. Gov. Pete Wilson and former state Republican leader Bruce Herschensohn. They offered humorous insights into the pop-star- turned-politician, who was killed Monday in a skiing accident. But her emotional tribute to her 62-year-old ex-husband had a few light moments, including her recollection of his 'weird hairdo between Caesar and Napoleon' the first time she met him. In a remark that sent laughter coursing through the church, Cher said Bono claimed he was a descendant of Napoleon and his family's name had been shortened from Bonaparte to Bono when they moved to the United States.

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Former Vice President Dan Quayle, U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and hundreds of others were also on hand to pay tribute to Bono, who was buried at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, about 115 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Cher was among those on hand at the cemetery to console his fourth wife, Mary, and their two young children. ---

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Copyright 1998 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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