Heidi Thompson Interview
Uncanny. Unbelievable. Incredible. These are just some of the superlatives
used to describe Heidi Thompson as Cher.
The look, the voice, and the charisma is immediately apparent as Heidi delivers
a medley of Cher's hit songs in nightly performances of "Legends In Concert" at
The Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Just for the record, Heidi is a Central New Yorker — born and raised
Q. Heidi, how did you get from Rochester, N.Y. to Las Vegas? Where did you
catch your big break?
A. I moved to Las Vegas in 1973. My parents had just divorced and my mother
wanted to be near her sister in Las Vegas. So, I drove my brother, sister,
and mother from Rochester to Las Vegas. I did not stay long at first however,
because I wanted to perform my original rock music and L.A. was a better place
to pursue a singer, songwriter career. I was a starving artist for several
years in L.A. and then decided to make some money. A car accident in 1981 forced
me to move back to Las Vegas. After re-grouping I decided to shop an original
musical play to the Las Vegas Hotel showrooms. I also was asked to write a
commercial jingle for a friend of the family who owned a beeper company.
My play came very close to being presented to the top producer in New York,
Mr. James Neederlander, Sr. My connection in Las Vegas, the owner of Brunswick
Records, set up the meeting. Unfortunately, he soon got very ill and passed
away. My play is still in my closet at home, along with piles of other scripts
for film and television. Writing songs and scripts is my strongest talent.
Finding someone to produce them is my weakest. As for my jingle for the beeper
company, it was so successful that I now own Golden Song Productions with my
husband, Gene Sironen. We have written and produced over 200 jingles for clients
that include top Nevada Hotels. Golden Song Productions is now moving into
the writing and production of original songs and scripts. As for my introduction
into the ' Cher' business, I had an act with my husband called Thompson
and Sironen. We had a one week job at the now extinct Marina Hotel on the strip,
which turned into over two years. In our act, we did songs from famous duos.
Sonny and Cher was probably the most popular portion of our act. We started
out singing the song "I Got You Babe." As time went on, we added
props like a Sonny Bono wig that Gene wore. I started sounding and acting like
Cher. The producer of the Legends in Concert at the Imperial Palace in Las
Vegas saw our act and asked me to portray Cher in his show. I've been doing
an impersonation of Cher for almost six years now.
Q. Because of your resemblance to Cher, what's the worst experience you've
A. I have reddish plum brown hair and do not look exactly like Cher out of
the wig and make-up. The worst experience I ever had was after a show once.
I was in my Cher costume shaking hands outside a showroom. An ex-stage hand
motioned for me to come over to where he and his wife were standing at the
bar. He said that I had slept with him and it couldn't happen again. I thought
he was either high or had a weird sense of humor, so I chuckled. His wife said
'That's not funny' and slapped me across the face. It was a shock! Anyway,
I think he must have been having an affair with a dog and saying it was me
made him look more desirable to his poor wife! I let her know he was lying.
Then I asked if he was high. At that moment, she got scared and they left the
hotel. They never came back. I sent them both certified letters saying that
I would press charges unless I got an apology in writing. I never heard from
them. That experience was awful because I was a newlywed at the time and my
mother had just passed away from cancer. I guess some people don't care what
type of effect they cause on others.
Q. Have you ever met Cher?
A. Never. I would like to though. I love her, especially as an actress. If
we do meet I hope it's after I've stopped impersonating her and have moved
on in my career.
Q. You had some involvement in the Kentucky Country singing group. What was
that all about?
A. Kentucky Country was a young singing group that starred in 'Splash' at
the Riviera Hotel. I wrote three songs for one of their albums. I have written
songs for many artists but have yet to find the right artist who could have
a hit with one of my songs. Maybe a publisher would be handy.
Q. You knew at the age of 7 that you wanted to be a singer. How did you know
that? Who inspired you?
A. I knew I was a singer actually at 4 years old. I just knew it. No one
inspired me. I just knew it.
Q. Since you perform as Cher every night can you even begin to imagine what
problems the real Cher must encounter, before she even goes onstage?
A. The real Cher probably has less problems on stage than off. When you are
a superstar with a big budget, you can have it exactly how you want it onstage.
Also, she must have a make-up person, a hair person, a wardrobe person, etc.,
etc., etc. That would be a dream come true for me. Offstage, I can imagine
how the lack of privacy would be a problem. I get people coming up to me all
the time and I'm not a superstar —yet!
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