Georgia Holt, actress, singer and mother of Cher, dies aged 96 | Music
Georgia Holt, singer, actress and mother of musician Cher, has died aged 96.
Cher announced the death on Twitter on Saturday, writing, “mom is gone.” Cher’s spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, confirmed the news to The Washington Post on Sunday, but further details, including the exact cause or date of death, have yet to be released. Holt was admitted to hospital with pneumonia in September.
Among the famous names who shared their condolences with Cher was former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who wrote, “So sorry for your loss my friend.”
Born Jackie Jean Crouch in 1926 in Arkansas, Holt learned to sing and play the guitar from her father. As a child, she won several talent and beauty contests and began acting in her twenties. During her career, she landed roles in shows such as I Love Lucy and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and movies such as A Life of Her Own and Grounds for Marriage.
Holt was married and divorced six times, including twice to her first husband, Cher’s father, John Paul Sarkisian, whom she married in 1946 but divorced in 1947 and later remarried in 1965 and divorced again in 1966. After their marriage fell apart the first time around, Holt struggled as a single mother and even briefly placed Cher in a Catholic orphanage while she worked to become financially independent.
Holt then married actor John Southall, with whom she had her second child, Georganne. In 1961, Holt married bank manager Gilbert Hartmann LaPiere, who legally adopted Cher and Georganne, changing their surnames to LaPiere.
Holt remained in a relationship with her last husband, Craig Spencer, from 1976 until his death. She met Spencer while running an antique store, when he was 21 and she was 50. Due to their age difference, she thought he was interested in Georganne, who was his age. “Then I thought he wanted to come with me because I’m Cher’s mom, or maybe he thinks I have money. Of course, it turns out it was me,” she said in an interview.
Cher, 76, has often shared her admiration for her mother, and in 2013 even produced a documentary called Dear Mom, Love Cher, which explored their close relationship.
“Our mother was supporting us alone – when someone says, ‘Oh, your mother got married that many times?’ it was always the three of us…there were never really any men in the house,” she said on Dear Mom, Love Cher.
Holt recorded a country album, Honky Tonk Woman, in the 1980s, but the tapes were lost until 2013, when she found them in her garage and sent them to her music manager. The album was released that year and included a duet with Cher.
She is survived by her daughters, Cher and Georganne LaPiere; her partner, Spencer; and his grandchildren, Chaz Bono and P Exeter Blue I.