The Sonny Side of Life: SONNY BONO (1935-1998)

SONNY BONO: 1935-1998

Can a life composed of second acts bring off a grand finale? Sonny Bono did just that. His opera buffa culminated in a Palm Springs, Calif., funeral in a Roman Catholic church, attended by three wives, his gay-activist daughter, conservative G.O.P. hierarchs from Washington and stand-up eulogists getting laughs from leather-clad bikers listening in from the streets and a worldwide audience watching live on cable TV. Even when his life finally got suddenly and fatally out of control, his timing was impeccable. He died like a Kennedy, on skis, against a tree. And if that's funny, it is something he'd appreciate....

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