How Cher became an icon for a new generation, from ‘Mamma Mia’ to her beloved Twitter

Cher is a lasting pop icon, the kind of star who’s stayed too busy to ever entirely fade from view, who has staged so many career revivals that there was never a question whether her career actually needed to be revived.

Of the many hot streaks she’s seen over her 72 years, she’s in the middle of a particularly blazing stretch. This Friday, she releases a new album of ABBA covers, “Dancing Queen,” inspired by her appearance in the “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” sequel this summer. “The Cher Show,” a jukebox musical inspired by her life and music, opens on Broadway in December, the same month that she will also be celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors, which recognizes artists who have made enduring contributions to American culture.

And beyond her seemingly constant stream of projects, it’s her larger-than-life personality — bold, irreverent and, for those who run afoul of her notorious Twitter presence, blisteringly caustic — that has captivated the internet. In a social media landscape that’s become increasingly toxic, Cher is a beacon of light, helping cement her icon status among a new generation of fans who may not know who Sonny and Cher were, who were not alive when she won her Best Actress Oscar for “Moonstruck” in 1988 and whose first exposure to the star may well have her eternal ’90s megahit “Believe.”

The internet loves hyperbole, and Cher — and the universe around her — never fails to deliver. She’s a star who is fully aware of her diva status — playing a version of herself in “Mamma Mia” and 2010’s wilder, campier “Burlesque” — and she has cultivated the kind of devil-may-care, later-in-life persona that most aging Hollywood celebs would kill for. Her “Mamma Mia” role provided a particularly delicious news cycle as she tweeted deliriously about her role and smooched Meryl Streep on the premiere’s red carpet.

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