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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 20, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 08
'I'll cry if I want to...' Leslie Gore dies at 68
Arts & Entertainment
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'I'll cry if I want to...' Leslie Gore dies at 68

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Sixties pop icon Leslie Gore died of lung cancer February 16 in New York City. She was 68.

Her partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson, announced Gore's death.

Gore was best known for her anthem of teenage angst 'It's My Party,' recorded in 1963 when she was only 16, but she also recorded the proto-feminist song 'You Don't Own Me' less than a year later.

'She was a wonderful human being - caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian,' Sasson, a jewelry designer, told The Associated Press.

Born Leslie Sue Goldstein in Brooklyn, Gore was raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, and was only a junior in high school when she was discovered by Quincy Jones and signed by Mercury records.

Her #1 hit 'It's My Party' was quickly followed by 'Judy's Turn to Cry,' in which the two-timing boyfriend from the earlier song dumps Judy, and returns to the narrator. Then came a series of hits - 'You Don't Own Me,' 'That's the Way Boys Are,' 'Maybe I Know,' 'Look of Love,' and the Grammy-nominated 'Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows' featured in the 1965 film Sky Party.

Gore was also offered 'A Groovy Kind of Love' in 1966, but her producer at Mercury Records would not allow her to record a song with the word 'groovy' in it - it was considered too sexual for a teenage vocalist - and the song was ultimately recorded by the Mindbenders.

In 1967 Gore played Catwoman's sidekick Pussycat on two episodes of the 'Batman' TV series.

In 1968 Gore graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in English and American Literature. She later recalled that folk singers were all the rage with her schoolmates, while pop music was uncool.

'Had I been tall with blond hair, had I been Mary Travers [of Peter, Paul, and Mary], I would have gotten along fine,' she told Village Voice in 1975.

With her brother Michael, Gore wrote the Academy Award-nominated song 'Out Here On My Own' for the 1980 film Fame.

In the 1990s, Gore co-wrote 'My Secret Love' for Allison Anders' film Grace of My Heart, released in 1996. A couple of years later, she appeared in Smokey Joe's Cafe on Broadway.

She had been working on a stage version of her life with playwright Mark Hampton when she died.

Beginning in 2004, Gore hosted the groundbreaking PBS LGBT series 'In The Life.' In an interview for a 2005 show, she came out as a Lesbian. At the time she had already been living with Sasson for more than 23 years.

Gore is survived by her partner Lois, her brother Michael, and her mother Ronny.

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