Discovered by Quincy Jones when she was only 16, Lesley Gore was still in high school when It's My Party hit the top of the pop charts. Hit after hit followed under the tutelage of producer Jones. However, when she graduated, she chose to go to college, as opposed to pursuing a full-time career in the music biz. She would perform and record on weekends. The WikiWackyWoo picks up the story:
Gore was one of the featured performers in the T.A.M.I. Show concert film, which was recorded and released in 1964 by American International Pictures, and placed in the National Film Registry in 2006. Gore had one of the longest sets in the film, performing six songs including "It's My Party", "You Don't Own Me", and "Judy's Turn to Cry".
Gore performed on two consecutive episodes of the Batman television series (January 19 and 25, 1967), in which she guest-starred as Pussycat, one of Catwoman's minions. In the January 19 episode "That Darn Catwoman", she lip-synched to the Bob Crewe-produced "California Nights", and in the January 25 episode "Scat! Darn Catwoman" she lip-synched to "Maybe Now". "California Nights", which Gore recorded for her 1967 album of the same name, returned her to the upper reaches of the Hot 100. The single peaked at number 16 in March 1967 (14 weeks on the chart). It was her first top 40 hit since "My Town, My Guy and Me" in late 1965 and her first top 20 since "Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows".
Quincy Jones; A National Treasure
It was also at Sarah Lawrence that Gore realized that she was a lesbian. Before college, she later explained, she simply had never had the time to examine her true feelings. "I had boyfriends," she said. "I was scheduled to get married ... All of that was part of the agenda at the time ... Part of the problem that I had ... was being out in the public. It was hard to even explore it. I wasn't even left that opportunity. When I talk to some of my gay women friends now who might just be a little bit older than me, they would come in from [Long] Island or New Jersey, and they would put on their black Levis and black jackets and run to the bars. I wasn't quite able to do that."Rolling Stone picked up the story for her obituary:
Though Gore did not come out as gay until after the heyday of her fame had passed, she says she never concealed it from the people who were close to her: "I just tried to live as normally as humanly possible. But as truthfully as humanly possible."
After graduating college in the late Sixties and staying largely out of the spotlight throughout the Seventies, Gore resurfaced in 1980 when "Out Here On My Own," a song she co-wrote with her brother Michael for the Fame soundtrack, was nominated for a Best Original Song Academy Award; Michael Gore would instead end up winning the Oscar for his song "Fame."
Gore came out to the public when she served as host on a few episodes of the PBS' LGBT newsmagazine series In the Life. She released her final album Ever Since in 2005.
As we always say here in the Not Now Silly Newsroom, it's all in the grooves:In a 2005 interview with After Ellen, she stated she was a lesbian and had been in a relationship with luxury jewelry designer Lois Sasson since 1982. At the time of her death, the couple had been together for 33 years. Gore died of lung cancer on February 16, 2015, at the NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, New York City; she was 68 years old. Her New York Times obituary described her as a teenage and feminist anthemist. Following her death, Neil Sedaka commented that she was "a phenomenal talent" and "a great songwriter in her own right."