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Carly Simon Loses Both Sisters to Cancer a Day Apart

Joanna and Lucy Simon both worked in the music industry

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carly simon sisters
Lucy, Carly, and Joanna Simon, photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

    Joanna Simon and Lucy Simon, Carly Simon’s two older sisters, passed away a day apart this week following their respective battles with cancer. Joanna, a former opera singer, died October 19th at age 85 of thyroid cancer, while Lucy, a Broadway composer, died October 20th at age 82 of breast cancer.

    “I am filled with sorrow to speak about the passing of Joanna and Lucy Simon. Their loss will be long and haunting,” Carly Simon said in a statement Saturday.

    “As sad as this day is, it’s impossible to mourn them without celebrating their incredible lives that they lived. We were three sisters who not only took turns blazing trails and marking courses for one another, we were each others secret shares. The co-keepers of each other’s memories.”

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    The daughters of Simon & Schuster co-founder Richard Simon, all three of the Simon sisters worked in the entertainment industry from a young age. Lucy and Carly performed as the folk duo The Simon Sisters in the 1960s before Carly’s pop career took off in the ’70s. Lucy continued her own solo career and even won two Grammy Awards for In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record and In Harmony 2, children’s music albums she produced with her husband, David Levine.

    In 1991, Lucy composed the Tony-nominated music for the Broadway musical The Secret Garden. After that, she composed the music for a stage adaptation of Doctor Zhivago and wrote the score for the HBO film The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. Prior to her death, Lucy was working on On Cedar Street, a musical adaptation of the 2015 novel Our Souls At Night that also became a Netflix film.

    Joanna began her opera career in 1962, when she performed as Mozart’s Cherubino at the New York City Opera. From there, she performed Thomas Pasatieri’s Black Widow at the Seattle Opera and sang with the likes of the New York Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic. She retired from music in 1986 and began reporting for PBS’ MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, where she worked as the arts correspondent until 1992.

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    Peter Simon, the only Simon brother, died of cardiac arrest in 2018 at age 71 after his own battle with cancer.

    Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with Carly Simon’s statement about her sisters’ deaths

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