20 May 2011

Happy Birthday, Cherilyn Sarkisian !

65 years old today, and eligible for Medicare and the AARP.

She apparently is the only person ever to have won a Grammy, and Emmy, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Cannes Film Festival Award. And is the only recording artist to have a number one song on Billboard charts in six different decades.

Relevant word for the day: Cher's father was an Armenian American, and her mother is of Melungeon, Cherokee, English, and French descent.
Melungeon is a term traditionally applied to one of a number of "tri-racial isolate" groups of the Southeastern United States... thought to be of mixed European, sub-Saharan African, and Native American ancestry... they do not exhibit characteristics that can be classified as of a single racial phenotype. Most modern-day descendants of Appalachian families traditionally regarded as Melungeon are generally European American in appearance, often, though not always, with dark hair and eyes, and a swarthy or olive complexion... the Irish surname Collins and English surname Gibson appear most frequently; genealogist Pat Elder calls them "core" surnames. Other researchers include Powell, LeBon ,Bowling, Bunch, Goins, Goodman, Heard, Minor, Mise, Mullins, and several others (although not all families with these surnames are Melungeon)...

There are many hypotheses about the etymology of the term "Melungeon". One theory favored by linguists and many researchers on the topic, and found in several dictionaries, is that the name derives from the French mélange, or mixture. As there were French Huguenot immigrants in Virginia in the 18th century, their language could have contributed a term. Another theory traces the word to malungu (or malungo), a Luso-African word from Angola meaning "shipmate.", from the Kimbundu word ma'luno, meaning "companion"; "friend".
There's much more on this interesting subject at the Wikipedia link.

I'm old enough to remember watching the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour in the early 1970s.  I've embedded the trailer for my favorite of Cher's movies (I also loved her performance in Mask.)  Feel free to offer your opinions and memories in the comments.


  1. Another Cher-related word: mononymous.

    Huge fan. My favorite of her films that I've seen (hasn't been all that many) is Silkwood.

    --Swift Loris

  2. Love Cher! And this was one of the last film's that I loved Nicholas Cage in. Moonstruck is one of the few romantic comedies I like. Now that I think about it, might be the only one. :)

    Also, just FYI, you're eligible for AARP on your 50th birthday.

  3. Mermaids was always my favorite of her movies.


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