Lesley Gore, 'It's My Party' Songstress, Dies at 68

by ETonline Staff 1:40 PM PST, February 16, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

Pop singer/songwriter Lesley Gore -- best known for the 1963 chart-topper, "It's My Party" -- has died at 68. On Monday, Gore lost her battle with cancer in a New York City area hospital, Lois Sasson, her partner of 33 years, told the Associated Press.

"She was a wonderful human being -- caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian," Sasson said of Gore.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey, Gore became a teenage radio sensation when she was discovered by Quincy Jones and recorded the GRAMMY-nominated single, "It's My Party." She followed the number one record with several other hits, including "Judy's Turn to Cry," "She's a Fool," and "You Don't Own Me."

"I am heartbroken at the news today of the passing of Lesley Gore," Jones told ET in a statement on Monday. " I discovered Lesley, almost on a dare, in 1963 when she was 16 years old and I was Vice President of Mercury Records and we would go on to make 16 hit songs together including 'It's My Party,' 'Judy's Turn to Cry,' 'You Don't Own Me,' and 'Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows.' Lesley was an incredibly soulful singer/songwriter even at that young and that was why the world embraced her songs the way it did. It is important to remember that at one point, the only group that surpassed her in the pop charts was the Beatles. It was a privilege to have been a part of Lesley's life personally and professionally from those early days until now, and although I will miss her deeply, her essence will remain with us always through her music."

In 1981, Gore was nominated for an Oscar for penning the ballad, "Out Here on My Own," for the 1980 hit film, Fame. Her brother Michael won Best Original Song for the title track, "Fame," which was also nominated.

Her long-running career also included an acting stint on the cult TV comedy, Batman, and her final studio album, Ever Since, which was released in 2005.

The same year, she came out as a lesbian in a PBS series, In the Life, which focused on LGBT issues. At the time she had already been with Sasson for 23 years.

Gore is survived by Sasson, her brother and mother, Ronny.