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Lesley Gore

Performer
( b. May 02, 1946 Brooklyn, New York, USA - d. Feb 16, 2015 New York, New York, USA ) Female
Also known as: Lesley Sue Goldstein [Birthname]
Relations: Sister of Michael Gore
Lesley Gore was a teenager in the 1960s when she recorded hit songs about heartbreak and resilience that went on to become feminist touchstones. With songs like "It's My Party," "Judy's Turn to Cry" and the indelibly defiant 1964 single "You Don't Own Me" -- all recorded before she was 18 -- Ms. Gore made herself the voice of teenage girls aggrieved by fickle boyfriends, moving quickly from tearful self-pity to fierce self-assertion.

"You Don't Own Me," written by John Madara and David White, originally reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been repeatedly rerecorded and revived by performers including Dusty Springfield, Joan Jett and the cast of the 1996 movie "The First Wives Club."

Ms. Gore was born Lesley Sue Goldstein in Brooklyn. She grew up in Tenafly, N.J., eager to become a singer. She had just turned 16, a junior in high school, when her vocal coach had her make some piano-and-voice recordings. Those demos, with a youthful brightness in her voice, reached the producer Quincy Jones, who was then an A&R man at Mercury Records. He became her producer and mentor.

Ms. Gore recorded "It's My Party" on March 30, 1963, and when Mr. Jones discovered that Phil Spector and the Crystals were also recording the song, he rush-released it within a week. It reached No. 1 and was followed onto the charts by "Judy's Turn To Cry" -- a sequel to "It's My Party" that gets the boyfriend back -- and other tales of teen romance like "She's a Fool," "That's the Way Boys Are" and "Maybe I Know," as well as "You Don't Own Me."

Ms. Gore was featured -- with James Brown, the Rolling Stones, the Supremes and Marvin Gaye -- in the 1964 concerts at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium that were documented as the "T.A.M.I. Show." She also had moderate hits with some of the first Marvin Hamlisch songs to be recorded: "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" in 1965 and "California Nights" in 1967.

Yet at the peak of her pop career Ms. Gore was in school full time, majoring in English and American literature at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., where she graduated in 1968. She played an occasional television show or concert on weekends or during vacations.

Ms. Gore's string of hits ended when girl-group pop gave way to psychedelia. But she kept performing -- in movies, on television, on theater and club stages. She appeared in the 1960s "Batman" television series as the Pink Pussycat, one of Catwoman's sidekicks.

Ms. Gore did not write her early hits. But after she was dropped by Mercury, she worked on becoming a songwriter. She moved to California in 1970, and her 1972 album, "Someplace Else Now," was full of songs she wrote herself or with the lyricist Ellen Weston.

Ms. Gore returned to New York City in 1980 and continued to sing her oldies on the nostalgia circuit. She also performed in musical theater, including a stint in the Broadway production of Smokey Joe's Cafe. She worked in television, hosting episodes of "In the Life," a PBS newsmagazine series about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. In 2005, she came out publicly as gay.

In recent years, Ms. Gore had been working on a memoir and a Broadway show based on her life.

Source: The New York Times obituary 


ProductionsDate of Productions
Smokey Joe's Cafe
[Musical, Revue, Original]
  • Starring: Lesley Gore
    • Guest Star - Additional
Mar 02, 1995 - Jan 16, 2000
Find out where Lesley Gore and are credited together