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Lesley Gore

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(1946 – 2015)

Lesley Sue Gore (born Lesley Sue Goldstein; May 2, 1946 – February 16, 2015) was an American singer, songwriter, actress and activist. At the age of 16, in 1963, she recorded the pop hit “It’s My Party”, and followed it up with other hits including “Judy’s Turn to Cry” and “You Don’t Own Me”.

Gore also worked as an actress and composed songs with her brother Michael Gore for the 1980 film Fame, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. She was active until 2014, and hosted an LGBT-oriented public television show, In the Life, on American TV in the 2000s.

Raised in Tenafly, New Jersey to Jewish parents, Gore was discovered as a teenager. Her first single in 1963 at age 16 was the #1 hit It’s My Party still perhaps her best known recording, which also made #9 in Britain. It was followed by others, including Judy’s Turn To Cry (the sequel to “It’s My Party”), She’s A Fool, the proto-feminist You Don’t Own Me, and Maybe I Know. Her record producer was Quincy Jones, who would later become one of the most famous producers in American music.

Instead of accepting the television and movie contracts that came her way, Gore chose to attend Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. This limited her public career to weekends and summer vacations and undoubtedly hurt her career. Nevertheless, throughout the mid-1960’s, Gore continued to be the one of the most popular female singers in the United States and Canada.

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