Lesley Gore, probably known best for her 1963 hit song ‘It’s My Party,’ died Monday morning in New York City of cancer at the age of 68. Raised Lesley-Sue Goldstein, she was just 17 in 1963 when she became a recording artist and singing sensation on the American pop scene.
In addition to ‘It’s My Party,’ Lesley Gore had a total of four hit singles in 1963. In 1965 she recorded another big hit, written by then-brand-new composer Marvin Hamlisch. ‘Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows’ was a huge hit for both Hamlisch and Gore.
Back in 2005, Lesley Gore talked about her excitement over ‘It’s My Party.’
“We recorded [it] on a Saturday afternoon, March 30, and I heard the record for the first time on April 6. I was driving to school, literally seven days later … so when it started getting played, we weren’t prepared for it. We didn’t even know it had been released,” she said. “When we left the studio, everyone was pleased, but even the president of the company, a wonderful father-like figure, Irving Green, said, ‘Now, sweetheart, if this never gets released, I don’t want you to be disappointed.’ And I said, ‘It’s okay, this has been a great experience. I enjoyed it and I thank you for that, and it’s okay if you never release it.’ I never thought it would see the light of day.”
— CNN (@CNN) February 16, 2015
Gore went on to graduate from Sarah Lawrence College, but her recording career suffered because of it. She enjoyed a foray into acting, however, in the role of Pussycat on the hit TV show Batman.
In the 1990s, Lesley Gore enjoyed the nostalgia fame that saw her performing at fairs and small arenas. ‘It’s My Party’ was popular once again.
“It’s amazing,” she told People magazine back in 1992, “to see 4-year-olds lip-synching ‘It’s My Party.’ ”
Lesley Gore is survived by Lois Sasson, her partner of more than three decades, as well as her mother and a brother.