In a play!
In the book Robert Altman: The Oral Biography, Cher remembers that Altman wanted her to play the transsexual Joanne in the 1981 play (and later movie) Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.
But Cher didn’t want to go there.
“I read Joanne and I really wanted to read Sissy,” reveals Chaz’s mother in the Altman book.
“Sandy Dennis told me later it was the worst reading she had ever heard.”
And Altman must have agreed, seeing as he said to Cher, “OK, right, Jo is not for you.”
Instead, he cast her as the born-biologically-female Sissy and gave Karen Black the plum role of Joanne. (“Karen and I never got along,” reveals Cher as a bonus.)
Still, Jimmy Dean managed to launch Cher into LGBT land.
As a result of her performance, Mike Nichols cast her as a really cool lesbian in Silkwood.
And the beat goes on.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 5, 2011