Lesley Gore: 'It's My Party' singer dies of cancer aged 68

Gore turned her talents to acting, singing and songwriting during her lengthy career

Kashmira Gander@kashmiragander
Monday 16 February 2015 21:45
Gore when she was 18 years old. (Getty)
Gore when she was 18 years old. (Getty)

Singer-songwriter and actress Lesley Gore, who topped the charts in the Sixties with It's My Party, has died of cancer. She was 68.

Gore passed away at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, Lois Sasson, her partner of 33 years, has confirmed.

Paying tribute to her partner, Sasson called Gore a "wonderful human being".

"She was a wonderful human being — caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian," Sasson, a jewellry designer, told the Associated Press.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in the state of New Jersey, Gore was discovered by Quincy Jones as a teenager and signed to Mercury Records.

As well as the teen-angst hit It's My Party, Gore enjoyed success with She's A Fool, That's the Way Boys Are, Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows and Maybe I Know.

Later, Gore wrote music for films. Alongside her brother Michael, she co-wrote the Academy Award-nominated Out Here On My Own from the film 1980 Fame, before co-penning My Secret Love for Allison Anders' 1996 film Grace of My Heart.

Gore also turned her talents to acting, and played Catwoman's sidekick in the cult TV comedy Batman.

And in 1998, she appeared in Smokey Joe's Cafe on Broadway.

Lesley Gore has died aged 68 (Getty Images)
Gore hugs a flowered record at her 18th birthday party celebrated at the Delmonico Hotel in New York in 1964 (Getty Images)

Before she died, Gore had been working on a stage version of her life with playwright Mark Hampton.

In 2005, Gore released Ever Since, her first album in 30 years, but was sure to revisit older hits in front of fans.

“If I've learned anything in this business,” she told The New York Times that year, “how stupid would it be not to do 'It's My Party' when people come to hear it?”

Gore came out in the early Noughties, when she hosted several episodes of the PBS series, In The Life, which dealt with lesbian and gay issues.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Gore turned her hit You Don't Own Me into an online video public service announcement demanding reproductive rights which starred Girls writer Lena Dunham and Tavi blogger Gevinson, among others.

Gore performs at the ASCAP Pied Piper award celebration in honor of Quincy Jones in 2008.

More recently, she performed at Feinstein's at the Loews Regency in New York and, along with Ronnie Spector and LaLa Brooks, headlined the She's Got the Power concert outdoors at Lincoln Center in 2012.

In addition to Sasson, Gore is survived by her brother and mother, Ronnie.

A funeral service to lay Gore to rest will be held on Thursday at the Frank E. Campbell funeral home on Madison Avenue, New York.

Additional reporting by AP

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