Lesley Gore, the pop singer known widely for her 1963 hit “It’s My Party”, died Monday at the age of 68. Gore lost her battle to lung cancer at New York University Langone Medical Center, her partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson, said.
“She was a wonderful human being,” Sasson told The Associated Press, “caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian.”
Recorded when Gore was just 16, “It’s My Party” became a staple of pop culture and producer Quincy Jones’ first hit single. Gore would follow with a series of hits including “She’s A Fool”, “You Don’t Own Me”, “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows”, and a semi-sequel to “It’s My Party” called “Judy’s Turn to Cry”. She received an Academy Award nomination for “Out Here on My Own” from the soundtrack to the classic 1980 film Fame, for which she composed music alongside her brother Michael. (Michael would win the Best Original Song Oscar that same year for the Fame theme.)
In addition to music, Gore dabbled in television. She appeared as one of Catwoman’s stooges in the 1960s’ Batman show, using the spotlight to debut her song “California Nights”. She also was a guest host on PBS’ In The Life, a documentary series focused on LGBT issues.
She remained active later in life, releasing an album of new material in 2005 called Ever Since. Below, revisit some of her classic songs and appearances.
“It’s My Party”:
“California Nights” from Batman:
“You Don’t Own Me”, as used in a PSA Gore created during the 2012 Presidential Elections: