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Sonny Bono and Michael Kennedy


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Today I thought I'd look up Sonny Bono and Michael Kennedy's deaths. Both died a few days apart by slamming into trees while skiing. When I thought of Sonny being a Congressman, I had a little suspicion. And I was surprised what I found on the Internet about him and Michael Kennedy.

Michael was Robert F. Kennedy's son, who disgraced himself and his brother Joe III, by having an affair with his children's underage babysitter. His brother Joe, at the time, was running for Governor of Massachusetts. Michael was his campaign manager. Joe felt the wrath of other Catholics by having his marriage annulled, so he could be married to another woman without excommunication. He had several children from his first marriage. The fact that the annulment went through, says something about the Catholic Church. His main gripe with his first wife was she didn't have the bravura of the Kennedys, and wasn't cut out to be a wife of a major politician. And the Catholic Church felt that was deserving of an annulment. I bet a hell of a lot of money changed hands, but that's another story.

This is from an obituary of Sonny Bono that appeared in the NY Times.http://elvispelvis.com/bono.htm

"Sonny Bono, Entertainer Turned Congressman, Dies in Skiing Accident

By BERNARD WEINRAUB NYTIMES

LOS ANGELES -- Rep. Sonny Bono, whose unexpected career in Republican politics followed an equally unexpected -- and successful -- career as a singer and television star with his former wife, Cher, was killed on Monday evening when he crashed into a tree while skiing in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. He was 62 and lived in Palm Springs, Calif.

Bono was skiing with his wife, Mary Whitaker, and their two children when he left them about 1:30 p.m. to ski alone at the Heavenly Ski Resort on the California-Nevada line, 55 miles south of Reno. Unaware that he had not made it down the hill, his wife, their son, Chesare, 9, and daughter, Chianna, 6, waited at the bottom of the slope. When he failed to appear after several hours, they reported him missing.

Bono's body was found by the ski patrol about 6:45 p.m. Sheriff Ron Pierini of Douglas County said Bono skied into a wooded area and hit a tree.

The sheriff said Bono died of massive head injuries. There was no evidence of drug or alcohol use, he said.

Bono's death came less than a week after Michael Kennedy, the 39-year-old son of Robert F. Kennedy, was killed when he hit a tree while playing football on a ski slope in Aspen, Colo. Michael Kennedy's uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said his family was "heartbroken" at Bono's death.

Bono met his fourth wife, Mary Whitaker, in 1985, when she walked into a restaurant he owned on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles to celebrate her graduation from the University of Southern California. They were married a year later.

What his wife, who assumed his seat in Congress, said about his death frankly shocked me:

Friday, November 20, 1998 9:56 AM

Bono's Wife: Drugs Killed Sonny

Sonny Bono's widow isn't letting him rest in peace. Rep. Mary Bono tells TV Guide that the pop star-turned-congressman was a prescription drug abuser, and she believes that this led to his death in a skiing accident last January.

Mary Bono, who replaced her late husband as a California representative, tells the Nov. 28 issue of the magazine that Sonny was taking "15, 20 maybe" pills a day at the time of his death. She says the pills were prescribed by doctors for chronic back and neck problems.

"I am 100 percent convinced that is why he died," she says. "What he did showed absolute lack of judgment. That's what these pills do. They take away your thought process."

According to his autopsy results, Bono showed no signs of alcohol or drug abuse, but Mary says that Sonny had "therapeutic" levels, i.e. prescribed amounts, of Vicodin and Valium in his system. "You know, these drugs come with a warning, 'Do Not Operate Machinery,' or whatever."

Mary Bono also says the pills made her husband moody, withdrawn, and angry, causing severe problems in their marriage.

"People don't know this. They don't know the true struggle that was there," she says. "One time Cher said, 'You know, Mary, you've gotta get out of there.' She knew how bad it was. His mood swings were so hard. In the middle of the night, he would wake up and be angry about something."

It was, she says, "a very difficult 12 years of my life."

Mary Bono says she and Sonny didn't have a prenuptial agreement, so "I could have left him and done well. But I chose to stay and work it out because I truly loved him."

The Dartmouth Review described what caused Michael Kennedy -- and Sonny Bono's -- accident: The article is very anti-Kennedy and if you can stomach it -- and some of it might be the truth, you can read more from it at the link:

http://dartreview.com/archives/1998/02/11/..._and_skiing.php

"Michael, Sonny, and Skiing

Wednesday, February 11, 1998

It is extraordinary to have had two such prominent skiing deaths recently, Michael Kennedy and Sonny Bono. But the fact of the matter is that there is almost no excuse for even an injury in modern recreational skiing, even if you want to go pretty fast and on expert trails.

During the past twenty-five years immense advances have been made in ski equipment. If your equipment is properly adjusted, your skis will detach if you fall, and so your ankles and your knees will escape injury, though you may be shaken up a bit when you hit the snow. For a while about ten years ago leg injuries became so rare that wrist injuries were actually more common. Ski pole straps were spraining people's wrists when they fell — but now the ski poles are made to fall free during a crash.

Just about everything has now been done in the direction of safety as far as equipment is concerned. Of course the equipment has to be properly adjusted. If you buy the best bindings in the world and fail to adjust them you have wasted your money and might as well nail your boots to the skis.

In fact, the only serious ski injury I have had was during cross-country skiing. I hit some ice, fell, and broke an ankle. This is because cross-country skis don't release during a fall. They can 'propeller' and take an ankle with them. As far as I am concerned, cross-country skiing is more dangerous than downhill skiing.

The death of Michael Kennedy cannot be blamed on skiing, might even be said to have had nothing to do with skiing. Much has been said about the 'tragedies' in the Kennedy family, but there is an atmosphere in that family that invites disaster.

There is a recklessness in all of this for which the term criminal is entirely appropriate.

Consider Michael Kennedy. At age 39 he was playing a version of touch football while skiing without poles and also trying to make movies of this family sport. It emerges that the Ski Patrol there in Aspen had repeatedly asked the Kennedy's to cut this stuff out, told them that it was dangerous, and that the night before the fatal collision with a tree, an official of the ski area had phoned Ethel Kennedy and asked them to desist.

Of course they didn't, and what they got, they got.

In my opinion this behavior was inexcusable and reprehensible. It was an insult to the essence of skiing and even an insult to the mountain itself. Downhill skiing is about controlled speed, with the emphasis on both 'control' and 'speed.'

I myself think of skiing in terms of long, fast 'S' turns down a long, intermediate slope where the sensation is one of almost effortless control and a strange kind of freedom. These long smooth turns can be controlled with a minimum of muscle. Michael Kennedy was thumbing his nose at the sport, joking it up with touch football, showing off, insulting the very mountain itself. He was daring Nemesis and it turned around and bit him.

There is an anecdote about his father Robert Kennedy that belongs here. In the Spring of 1968 I spent a weekend skiing at Heavenly Valley in California (where Sonny Bono died), a glorious sun-burned weekend of Spring skiing. The management of the area was still furious about a visit a day or two earlier by Robert Kennedy. He was running for president against Gene McCarthy, and took time out to ski with his entourage at Heavenly Valley.

It was bad enough that Kennedy demanded free lift line tickets for his whole crowd, which he grudgingly received. But it was intolerable that he also demanded that they go right to the front of the long lift line. When he tried to push his way ahead of everyone else they pelted his group with half-eaten hot dogs, coffee cups, and whatnot, soon forcing the angry exit of the whole Kennedy group from the ski area.

Not long after that, Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan in Los Angeles, and the joke in the governor's office in Sacramento was that Sirhan Sirhan must have been on that lift line in Heavenly Valley.

The common theme in much Kennedy behavior obviously is that because they are Kennedys they can get away with absolutely anything, no matter who is offended, injured, even killed. There no doubt are many Kennedy's of later generations whom we don't read about in the tabloids. But about the egregious Kennedys it is impossible to avoid Nick Carroway's judgment in The Great Gatsby about the bored and dangerous rich who hung out with the Tom Buchanans: 'They're a rotten crowd.'

Scott Fitzgerald had something in The Great Gatsby when he has their behavior result in corpses all over the North Shore of Long Island.

The death of Sonny Bono appears to have been an entirely different matter, yet some recklessness was involved there too. He is reported to have been skiing off the trails, maneuvering in the deep snow in a grove of trees. Probably he felt exuberant, sought the joy of a shot of adventure. Yet the fact is a skier not totally familiar with that mountain has no way of knowing what's under that deep snow. He could be surprised by a log or a boulder, and go out of control among the trees. Sonny Bono must have been going pretty fast through that deep snow in order to sustain the injuries described. The risk he was taking was not justified by the prospect of a few minutes of deep powder skiing among the trees."

Copyright © 1996-2007 The Dartmouth Review"

Sonny Bono was skiing alone on a dangerous path. I've read that his areas of influence were copyright infringement, the environment, cutting down on crime, immigration; and he criticized his colleagues calling them, in effect, lawyers who do nothing but talk, talk, talk. He excelled as a fundraiser, second only to Newt Gingrich. He became friends with Barney Frank but was against same-sex marriage, even though his daughter, Chastity, is a lesbian.

I don't think foul play was involved. Unless someone knows of something controversial that could be cause for someone to kill him.

Michael Kennedy's death was basically kamikaze and happened at a time when, as I said, there was so much controversy surrounding him, which put him in the spotlight. As above, does anyone believe there was foul play here?

Kathy

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I don't think there were killers lying in wait, who knew that Bono would ski off by himself, and where.

I remember Bono was a member of a committee investigating Waco, and looked very upset, near tears, at one point in the hearings. But I don't know what he or anyone else ever tried to do about Waco besides hold a hearing. Who would benefit by killing him?

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There were no witnesses to Bono's death.

I am always suspicious when there were no witnesses.

Take Vince Foster, for example, or George DeMohrenschildt...

Jack

Thanks Ron -- who would know Congressman Bono was going to ski alone? On the other hand, Jack, he could have been ambushed on the mountain and taken to the place where he supposedly died. With his wife coming out and saying those things about him, what was the purpose? Also, he was evidently something of an athlete at age 62 to ski like that. Those pills would have incapacitated him to begin with. And physical pain would not put him on a mountain slope. He'd probably stop skiing altogether. I can't understand her motive. And you know what? I don't believe her.

Why would someone kill Sonny Bono? Ron mentioned the Waco committee. I'll have to look into that. I mean, even though he had been in Show Biz, he was an American Congressman and sometimes they die violent deaths. As it was so close to Michael's death, it almost seems like a copycat.

Kathy

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I've found some material on Congressman Sonny Bono and Waco.

http://www.waco93.com/latimes8_1_95.htm

"Rep. Sonny Bono (R-La Quinta) spent several hours monitoring testimony with his Republican colleagues. Upon leaving the committee room Friday, Bono was spotted by Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.), who couldn't resist acknowledging Bono's fascination with the hearings.

Said Hyde: "Sonny, you cult-buster you!"'

This next one goes down a list of people involved with Waco who died unexpectantly:

http://corrigendablog.blogspot.com/2006/04...nniversary.html

"Carlos Ghigliotti, infrared expert, dead of a heart attack. Fred Zegel, infrared expert, died of unreported causes. One of the ATF agents committed suicide, saying he'd been blamed for the failure (he'd posed as a UPS deliveryman to gain info, and was a bit clumsy at it, not that that played any role in anything, but agencies look for scapegoats). One of the TV cameramen who filmed the first raid died at an early age, reportedly of drinking too much. At least one of the FBI higher-ups was drinking too much, it was said. Robert Rodriguez, ATF agent who tried to stop and raid (and whom David Koresh rather liked), forced out of the agency (and successfully sued them over leaking personal info to harm him ... as usual in a bureaucracy, the one guy who does things right is persecuted for making everyone else look bad).

I was living in Los Angeles at the time. I was the only person among my coworkers who questioned the Federal Government's right to raid a compound that was, by all local accounts, civilian and police, no threat to anyone.

The things I remember:

[One being] Congressman Sonny Bono's admirable disgust when watching a tape of the massacre. Bono was new to Republican politics; he hadn't yet learned to dump his principles in the toilet at the first sign of government malfiesance."

Could Sonny, being as emotional as he was (and not doped up that I can tell) have attracted the wrong kind of publicity with his sentimentality and sincerety -- you can't keep someone like him quiet because he might be a loose cannon and would stick to his guns, trying to actually do something about the situation.

BTW, although I'm a Democrat, I thought Janet Reno was the worst Attorney General in the history of this country. The way that militia raided the home where Elian Gonzalez was sleeping -- that boy will be scarred for life; and I hope the Fisherman (can't remember his name) who fished Elian out of the ocean, wins his lawsuit.

Kathy

Edited by Kathleen Collins
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  • 3 years later...

There is more to Sonny Bono's death. He was informed of high govt officials who were involved in a drugs and guns cartel. He was going to expose them when Congress reconvened.

There is more to this story. Someone here will say what does this have to do with the Kennedy Assasssination. It's the possible murder of an elected official, a Republican Congressman who was devoted to his job. To read more go to:

thecloakofdarkness.blogspot.com Sonny Bono - Accident or Murder?

I have a new blog:

whatpricefame.blogspot.com Gossip and Scandals of the Rich and Famous

Just thought I'd mention it.

Kathy C

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The footage of Sonny at the Waco hearings is in the very watchable documentary Waco: The Rules of Engagement.

The icing on the cake of the film's presentation is Sonny, watching in open-mouthed indignation from the gallery while Sen. Charles Schumer of New York pours out a dumbfounding spiel of lies and hypocrisy on the government's handling of the assault. It's an image of politics as corrupt as any fictional drama could portray it.

The film also features the very rich guy who invented infra-red imaging for the government, showing every point in the surveillance footage where the government lied about its actions during the siege.

BTW, people who like well-made documentaries like this should look up The Panama Deception, narrated by Elizabeth Montgomery, a deliberate and careful film on the invasion.

Edited by David Andrews
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The footage of Sonny at the Waco hearings is in the very watchable documentary Waco: The Rules of Engagement.

I agree David

Waco: The Rules of Engagment is in my top 5 documentaries of all time

I own the DVD and recommend it to everybody

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The footage of Sonny at the Waco hearings is in the very watchable documentary Waco: The Rules of Engagement.

The icing on the cake of the film's presentation is Sonny, watching in open-mouthed indignation from the gallery while Sen. Charles Schumer of New York pours out a dumbfounding spiel of lies and hypocrisy on the government's handling of the assault. It's an image of politics as corrupt as any fictional drama could portray it.

The film also features the very rich guy who invented infra-red imaging for the government, showing every point in the surveillance footage where the government lied about its actions during the siege.

BTW, people who like well-made documentaries like this should look up The Panama Deception, narrated by Elizabeth Montgomery, a deliberate and careful film on the invasion.

I just watched several congressional speeches by Sonny Bono. I also watched the one where his wife is ill -- this occurred when he was running for Mayor of Palm Springs (which he won). All this footage is on youtube.

So I have to change my opinion which I stated on thecloakofdarkness.blogspot.com When Sonny was in Congress giving speeches, to me he came across drugged -- and I believe he was a manic-depressive as well. And I now believe he would have mood swings and his wife was on a roller-coaster with him. So what she said about him 8 months later were true. But why did she have to tell people?

Kathy C

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The footage of Sonny at the Waco hearings is in the very watchable documentary Waco: The Rules of Engagement.

The icing on the cake of the film's presentation is Sonny, watching in open-mouthed indignation from the gallery while Sen. Charles Schumer of New York pours out a dumbfounding spiel of lies and hypocrisy on the government's handling of the assault. It's an image of politics as corrupt as any fictional drama could portray it.

The film also features the very rich guy who invented infra-red imaging for the government, showing every point in the surveillance footage where the government lied about its actions during the siege.

BTW, people who like well-made documentaries like this should look up The Panama Deception, narrated by Elizabeth Montgomery, a deliberate and careful film on the invasion.

I just watched several congressional speeches by Sonny Bono. I also watched the one where his wife is ill -- this occurred when he was running for Mayor of Palm Springs (which he won). All this footage is on youtube.

So I have to change my opinion which I stated on thecloakofdarkness.blogspot.com When Sonny was in Congress giving speeches, to me he came across drugged -- and I believe he was a manic-depressive as well. And I now believe he would have mood swings and his wife was on a roller-coaster with him. So what she said about him 8 months later were true. But why did she have to tell people?

Kathy C

I watched Waco: Rules of Engagement. You only get a glimpse of Sonny Bono wiping tears from his eyes. There's footage where Sonny is a Congressman and he's grilling Janet Reno (whom I despise).

But I found another Sonny appearance as I stated above. This one is something! I put it on thecloakofdarkness.blogspot.com I couldn't believe it when I saw it. Does a man like that, who is so heavily on pills, go skiing on a many-tree-d slope by himself? I don't know who would want to ski that slope. Is this the first time we've heard of skiing assassins?! Maybe Sonny was lured there.

In the footage, Sonny doesn't seem professional, but crazy or drunk.

Kathy C

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I watched Waco: Rules of Engagement. You only get a glimpse of Sonny Bono wiping tears from his eyes. There's footage where Sonny is a Congressman and he's grilling Janet Reno

No way - in Waco, Sonny is visible in the upper background - head in hands, mouth agape - while Schumer rants on, for a long couple of minutes, like some character out of The Godfather, Pt. II who imagines he's a Roman senator. Some of the shots almost look like they're framed to catch Sonny behind Schumer, but it was either accident or on-the-fly opportunity. The scene was one of my favorite things in the picture. If you missed Sonny back there, you were mesmerized by Schumer.

Edited by David Andrews
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I think Sonny's enemies decided to shut him up, to keep him from "singing".

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I think Sonny's enemies decided to shut him up, to keep him from "singing".

Thanks for the chuckle Terry,

I needed that.

Here's a pix of Cher, Sonny and Bob in younger days.

http://jfkcountercoup2.blogspot.com/2010/08/cher-sonny-bob.html

I knew Michael from the 1980 presidential campaign.

I missed the Waco hearings though. (Specter talks about them too)

Must have been off skiing or something.

BK

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  • 1 month later...

Sonny Bono, whom I now think was murdered, was a Republican Congressman. There was a man named Ted Gunderson who was going to look into this. He said the autopsy was not indicative of hitting a tree while skiing. His head was blugeoned.

I thought of this today: Sonny was a Republican and was from California. I wonder if he was ever invited to Bohemian Grove? Who would know? But he's gone and he had a lot to tell us about this govt.

Kathy C

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