Sonny Bono Statue - Atlas Obscura

Sonny Bono Statue

A bust of the entertainer and politician sits in an alcove at the Palm Springs Airport. 

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In an alcove next to the steps to the elevated concourse of Palm Springs Airport is a bust of singer, songwriter, Congressman, and Mayor Salvatore Phillip “Sonny” Bono.

After a successful music career with ex-wife Cher, Bono faded from the public eye, with only sporadic appearances in television and movies. He decided to enter politics, after experiencing firsthand frustration with the local bureaucracy. In 1988, Bono ran as a Republican for Mayor of Palm Springs, California, winning easily with 4,842 votes; his nearest competitor in the seven-way race had 2,498 votes.

In 1992, Bono tried for a run for the U.S. Senate, but the party’s nomination went to another Republican. Later, in 1994, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held until his death in a skiing accident in 1998.

But in between his career as an entertainer, and his election to the House of Representatives, he is remembered fondly in Palm Springs. The Palm Springs International Film Fest he started is held each year in his memory.

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November 1, 2023

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