The all-time biggest targets of tabloid trashing are perennially hot Cher AND legendary, long dead Annie Oakley.
Cher began as a singing duo with Sonny the year of President Kennedy’s assassination (1963) and Annie Oakley was born the year Lincoln was elected President (1860). Yet these two entertainers share the distinction of being the most admired and most maligned celebrities of their era.
Generous and driven workaholics, they never cared much for drinking, drugging, gambling or staying up late. But the tabloid press fastidiously ignored all that and clobbered them anyway.
Both of these superstars began life destitute, but determined to be stars. Fatherless at an early age, they were 15 years old when they met men 12 years older who married them and guided them to fame and fortune.
Proof positive that absentee dads are a powerful thing long after they’ve vanished.
For almost 20 years, Annie Oakley dazzled the world with her shotgun genius as the star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The diminutive damsel took aim and the bullets whizzed fast and furious, ALWAYS hitting their targets. She nurtured a spotless reputation for decency and fairness. Annie was even adopted by her castmate, the infamous Sioux warrior Sitting Bull, who named her “Little Sure Shot”.
A shocked Annie Oakley awoke one day in 1903 to a screaming headline in two Hearst-owned Chicago newspapers that she was a thief, a cokehead and a jailbird. The story said she stole money from a black man to pay for a coke addiction that had aged her beyond her years.
Though the story was totally untrue, Hearst newspapers picked it up and ran the piece coast-to-coast. This was the modus operandi of William Randolph Hearst, the father of “yellow journalism”. The tabloid tycoon actually did the p.r. that launched the Spanish-American War just for personal power and wealth. Déjà vu all over again?!
For the next six years, Annie Oakley devoted herself to shooting down Hearst’s lies by filing 55 lawsuits against his newspapers across the country. “These terrible lies nearly killed me,” she lamented. Though she won all but one lawsuit, she lost much of her fortune on legal fees and her health suffered. BUT SHE FOUGHT THE TABLOIDS AND WON!
While an old Indian chief adopted Annie Oakley as a daughter, the part-Cherokee Cher chose to adopt a bevy of beautiful boys as her lovers. The tabloids ragged on her endlessly about this proclivity. The tabloid stinkers dubbed her favorite boy toy “The Bagel Boy” after they got wind of his former profession.
Word is that when Cher first eyed Bagel Boy’s chiseled features and sinewy, slim body, she gave her bodyguards orders to: “Undress him, bathe him, and bring him to my tent.”
The paparazzi pursued the two lovebirds until they forced the Bagel Boy out of Cher’s Holmby Hills nest. Tabloid love sure HURTS.
Judging from the scandal sheets, Cher’s major crime appears to be financing countless Beverly Hills plastic surgeons and their extended families. Let’s see, at last count the gossipmongers allege: removal of two ribs, chin implants, brow lifts, a nose job, neck tightening, breast & buttock implants, collagen injections into her lips, botoxed forehead, and tattoos in highly sensitive, obscene body cavities.
Hey, forget about the Oscar, the Grammy's and the Golden Globes awarded to her in a 40-year career. Cher should get a Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor for keeping up the morale of the country and the troops through at least four wars. Staying a full-fledged skinny sex symbol into your sixties really HURTS. And deserves props.
Cher got fed up in 1981 and sued STAR magazine for misuse of her image. She spent more on legal fees than the half million plus bucks she got in a settlement. BUT SHE FOUGHT THE TABLOIDS AND WON!
Still, Cher and many other stars are often spotted at newsstands shamelessly buying the tabloids. Proving what millions of ordinary folks know: Guilty pleasures are indestructible and live on. A million years from now after global warming and the dreaded nuclear winter, all that will survive are the cockroaches, the Star and the Enquirer.
(c)2006, Sistarrs International