“I just moved out of this house six months ago, my dahlings,'” Cher recalled Tony Curtis telling her and Sonny Bono when he invited them to his mansion at 364 St. Cloud Road in Bel Air, California, in 1967. “And I’ll let you have it for $250,000.” The Some Like It Hot star was “a hustler” who buttered them up when they met at a party, Sonny said. “Don’t you want people to see you as a winner?” Tony asked. But when he took them to see the six-bedroom Mediterranean home and showed off its fine early 1930s workmanship, high ceilings, and huge rooms, they didn’t need much convincing. Watch the video above to see inside Sonny and Cher’s stunning home!
“Sonny and I looked at each other: we were already sold,” Cher remembered. “But Tony took us on a tour anyway, all smiles and grand arm movements.” They were wowed by the breakfast, screening, and billiard rooms, wood-paneled library, and banquet-sized dining room inside the 34-room palace, as well as the grand swimming pool. “When we got back to the car, I just said, ‘Son.’ And he said, ‘I know. All right. We’ll swing this.'” They moved in a few weeks later.
It was a big step up from the first LA place they shared in 1965 — Sonny’s apartment at Franklin Avenue and Vine — and even the first house they bought, located just a couple blocks away from Cher’s mom, Georgia Holt, in Encino, CA. “We rented [it] out, left all our old furniture there,” Cher said, and “decorated our new house in a very traditional way. We were nouveau riche, but better nouveau than never!”
Their families, who Cher said were “tongue-tied when they first came to the St. Cloud house,” sure agreed. “Son made a fabulous barbecued Sicilian breaded steak and artichokes on the arched patio — everybody went around oohing and aahing.” But when the pop hits stopped coming in the late ’60s, and their films bombed, the couple’s situation became “funny in a sad way. We lived in a mansion that had no furniture. We were famous but had no money,” Sonny said. They tried but failed to sell the home in 1969.
Cher and Sonny outside their Encino, CA home in 1968.
Things turned around big-time with The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour’s successful debut in 1971 — and guess who came calling again? Tony, who took them to his 54-room Holmby Hills, CA mansion at 141 S. Carolwood Drive, where they first met. “We aren’t looking to move,” Sonny protested. “You’re stars — you should reside in heaven,” Tony replied, and ended up selling them the luxurious digs for $750,000. “Cher furnished it in three days,” Sonny recalled.
A few years later, when the couple split, they remained in the home with their daughter Chastity (now son Chaz Bono), Cher’s beau Bill, and Sonny’s girlfriend Connie. “As strange as it sounds, I loved living with Son in the big house, even though he was at one end with Connie and I was at the other,” Cher recalled. “We all spent time together, we joked, we laughed. Son and I were still family.”