Gilbert Hartmann LaPiere: Hollywood’s Stepfather and Oil Industry Icon


Gilbert Hartmann LaPiere, born on June 29, 1923, in Irvington, New Jersey, was a remarkable individual whose life intertwined with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood through his association with his stepdaughter, the iconic Cher. His journey goes beyond familial ties, delving into a rich tapestry of personal and professional achievements.

Gilbert’s significance in Cher’s life extends beyond the familial realm. As her stepfather, he played a pivotal role in shaping Cher’s formative years, contributing to her resilience and determination that would later define her illustrious career. This article aims to uncover the layers of Gilbert’s life, his impact on Cher, and his notable contributions to the oil and gas industry.

Gilbert Hartmann Lapiere Biography

Gilbert Hartmann LaPiere, born on June 29, 1923, in Irvington, New Jersey, was a man whose extraordinary life wove together the realms of wartime heroism, corporate acumen, and familial devotion. Raised amidst the challenges of the Great Depression, Gilbert’s journey took a turn during World War II when he served as a bombardier on B-24s in the Western Pacific arena, showcasing both bravery and resilience. Post-war, he carved a niche in the corporate world, utilizing his Petroleum Engineering degree to become an Evaluation Engineer for City Service Oil Co. and later at Chase Bank in New York City.

His influence extended to Wall Street, where he managed the Oil and Gas Department for W. E. Hutton and Co., leaving an indelible mark on the oil and gas industry. Gilbert’s personal life was equally compelling, marked by marriages, adoptions, and a commitment to family. His legacy lives on in the enduring impact he had on the LaPiere family, particularly his stepdaughter, the iconic Cher, and his contributions to both the oil industry and Hollywood’s golden era. Gilbert Hartmann LaPiere passed away on February 27, 2012, leaving behind a legacy of resilience, adaptability, and unwavering familial devotion.

Early Life and Education

Gilbert’s journey began in the vibrant community of Irvington, New Jersey. Raised by Albert J LaPiere and Tillie Hartman LaPiere, he exhibited early promise, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout during his grade school years. His active participation in sports, particularly track and baseball, hinted at the determined spirit that would characterize his later endeavors.

Gilbert’s pursuit of knowledge led him to the University Of Missouri School Of Mines, where he immersed himself in Petroleum Engineering. Even amid the disruptions of World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, demonstrating resilience that would become a hallmark of his character.

Serving as a bombardier on B-24s in the Western Pacific arena, Gilbert completed thirty-five missions, surviving the harrowing experience of “ditching” his airplane into the ocean after a bombing mission. This period shaped his character and instilled in him a commitment to excellence that would define his future endeavors.

Professional Career

Post-war, Gilbert resumed his education, earning his degree and starting a career as an Evaluation Engineer for City Service Oil Co. in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. His expertise later led him to Chase Bank in New York City, where he contributed significantly to the oil and gas industry’s financial landscape.

Recognized for his proficiency, Gilbert assumed the role of managing the Oil and Gas Department for W. E. Hutton and Co. on Wall Street. His influence extended beyond conventional roles, offering valuable insights into oil and gas stocks, and public offerings, and contributing to the industry’s growth.

Driven by a desire for independence, Gilbert ventured into entrepreneurship as a financial oil and gas consultant. Renowned as a troubleshooter, he facilitated the establishment of financial stability, mergers, and sales for numerous companies and independent operators, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.

Personal Life

Gilbert’s personal life intersected with the world of entertainment when he married Georgia Holt, a singer-songwriter, actress, and model. This union marked the beginning of a familial connection with Cher, whom Gilbert later adopted.

Cher, born Cherilyn Sarkisian, became Gilbert’s daughter through legal adoption. Alongside Georganne LaPiere, they became a closely-knit family. This period, despite its eventual challenges, laid the foundation for a familial bond that persisted even after Gilbert’s divorce from Georgia.

Following the dissolution of his marriage to Georgia, Gilbert embarked on a new chapter, marrying Beverly Lorraine Foster LaPiere. This union added another layer to his journey, reflecting his resilience and adaptability.

Involvement in the Oil and Gas Industry

Gilbert’s influence in the oil and gas industry was substantial. During his tenure at Chase, known as a major lender in the oil and gas sector, he played a pivotal role in oil and gas loans, mergers, and sales for both major companies and independent producers. This experience became the crucible where he honed his understanding of the industry.

Having navigated the complexities of the sector, Gilbert became a sought-after expert in oil and gas stocks and public offerings. His role as a vice president in the oil and gas division of the Union Bank of California underscored his influence and standing within the industry.

Cher’s Family and Adoption

Despite not being Cher’s biological father, Gilbert’s influence in her life was profound. The legal adoption solidified their familial bond, creating a supportive environment that contributed to Cher’s growth as an artist and individual. The relationship extended beyond the realms of stepfatherhood, fostering mutual respect and affection.

The adoption process, though legal, reflected a genuine commitment to family. Gilbert’s decision to adopt Cher and Georganne, changing their surnames to LaPiere, showcased a dedication to nurturing a family unit. This blended family’s dynamics were marked by challenges and moments of shared joy.

Later Years and Legacy

In the later years, Gilbert settled in Oklahoma City, a testament to his adaptability. His membership at the Quail Creek Golf and Country Club reflected his love for golf, a passion he continued to pursue. These years were marked by a balance between professional acumen and personal interests.

Gilbert’s journey came to an end on February 27, 2012, in Oklahoma City. His passing was mourned by his surviving family, including daughters Verna Bullock, Cher, and Georganne Bartylak, step-daughter Diana Spahn, and grandchildren. He found his final resting place at Rose Hill Burial Park, a serene tribute to a life well-lived.

Gilbert’s legacy transcends the boundaries of time. His impact on the LaPiere family, particularly Cher, echoes through the annals of Hollywood history. The resilience, determination, and business acumen he exhibited continue to inspire succeeding generations, underscoring the enduring nature of his influence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Was Gilbert Hartmann LaPiere Cher’s biological father?

No, Gilbert Hartmann LaPiere was not Cher’s biological father. He became Cher’s father through legal adoption after marrying Georgia Holt, Cher’s mother.

What was Gilbert Hartmann LaPiere’s profession?

Gilbert had a diverse career, starting as an Evaluation Engineer in the oil industry, eventually managing the Oil and Gas Department at W. E. Hutton and Co. on Wall Street. He later became a financial oil and gas consultant.

How did Gilbert contribute to the oil and gas industry?

Gilbert played a significant role in the industry, particularly during his tenure at Chase Bank, where he worked on oil and gas loans, mergers, and sales for major companies and independent producers. Later, he became a trusted consultant.

What is known about Gilbert Hartmann LaPiere’s military service?

During World War II, Gilbert served as a bombardier on B-24s in the Army Air Corps, completing thirty-five missions. His wartime experiences, including “ditching” his plane into the ocean after a bombing mission, shaped his character.

How did Gilbert’s relationship with Cher evolve?

Gilbert’s relationship with Cher evolved through legal adoption after his marriage to Georgia Holt. Despite the eventual divorce, his influence persisted, leaving a lasting impact on Cher’s life and career.


In recapitulating Gilbert Hartmann LaPiere’s life, a mosaic of resilience, adaptability, and familial devotion emerges. From the challenges of wartime service to the bustling streets of Wall Street, his journey encapsulates an era of change and growth.

The significance of Gilbert’s role in Cher’s life extends beyond the ordinary. As a father figure, mentor, and source of inspiration, he contributed to the shaping of one of the most iconic figures in the entertainment industry. His legacy resides not only in the annals of family history but also in the broader tapestry of Hollywood’s golden era.

In unraveling the life of Gilbert Hartmann LaPiere, we find a narrative that transcends the ordinary—a story of determination, resilience, and familial bonds that left an indelible mark on Hollywood and the oil and gas industry. As we reflect on his legacy, we recognize a life well-lived, a testament to the enduring impact one individual can have on those around them.

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