Today, it is certainly our turn to cry!
Lesley Gore died of lung cancer today, even though she was a non-smoker. That fact proves that life is not fair. I remember her songs fondly from when I was a kid. Back then, in 1962 when I was just seven years old, the fact that she was a singing sensation at the age of 16 did not impress me. I realize now that was quite a feat, especially so long before American Idol. Her first hit was “It’s My Party” followed closely by “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” Of course, my favorite even then was “You Don’t Own Me” from 1964. I must have always been a budding feminist.
Over the years, she may not have had a high profile as an artist, but she stayed in the business as a singer and songwriter. For a short time in the 1960s, she even played Catwoman’s sidekick in the TV series Batman. How cool and kitch is that?! In 2012, her “You Don’t Own Me” women’s rights anthem was used in a PSA Campaign for reproductive rights and getting out the female vote.
At her death, she was working on a stage version of her life for Broadway. To realize that her life and talent have been cut short is very sad. Lois Sasson, Gore’s partner of 33 years, shared this view of Lesley Gore: “She was a wonderful human being — caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian.”
In her honor and memory, I share with you two versions of my favorite song by Lesley Gore: “You Don’t Own Me.” The first is the 2012 PSA version that Gore introduces. The second is the version sung by Better Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton as a great ending to the fun film First Wives Club. Enjoy!
I dare you to watch either (or both) and not tap your feet and sing along.
Lesley Gore. She will be missed.