Joanna Simon, acclaimed singer, TV correspondent, dies at 85

Joanna Simon, a mezzo-soprano and one of the three singing Simon sisters, has died

The Associated Press
Saturday 22 October 2022 18:04 BST
Obit-Joanna Simon
Obit-Joanna Simon (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Joanna Simon, an acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Emmy-winning TV correspondent and one of the three singing Simon sisters who include pop star Carly, has died at age 85.

Simon, the eldest of four, died Wednesday, just a day before her sister Lucy died, according to Lucy's daughter, Julie Simon. Their brother Peter, a photographer, died in 2018 at 71. All three had cancer.

“In the last 2 days, I’ve been by the side of both my mother and my aunt, Joanna, and watched them pass into the next world. I can’t truly comprehend this,” Julie wrote on Facebook.

Joanna Simon, who died of thyroid cancer, rose to fame in the opera world and as a concert performer in the 1960s. She was a frequent guest on TV talk shows. After her retirement from singing, she became an arts correspondent for PBS’s “MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour,” where she won an Emmy in 1991 for a report on mental illness and creativity.

Simon was married to novelist and journalist Gerald Walker from 1976 until his death in 2004. She was the companion of Walter Cronkite from 2005 until his death in 2009.

On stage, she made her professional debut in 1962 as Cherubino in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” at New York City Opera. That year, she won the Marian Anderson Award for promising young singers. Simon took on a range of material. As a concert performer, she leaned into classic and contemporary songs of her time.

The siblings were born to publishing giant Richard Simon and his wife, Andrea. Carly and Lucy once performed as the Simon Sisters, opening for other acts in Greenwich Village folk clubs.

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