Lesley Gore, ‘It’s My Party’ singer, dies at 68

LOS ANGELES — Singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, who scored a massive hit in 1963 with “It’s My Party,” died Monday. She was 68.

Gore’s partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson, told the Associated Press that she died of cancer at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.

Gore’s occasional shows in Las Vegas included two nights at the Suncoast last May. That appearance, and other Las Vegas dates going back to 2001, was in a packaged show called “Legendary Ladies of Rock & Roll.”

Gore headlined the variety show that included co-stars such as the Shirelles, Peggy March and Shirley Alston Reeves. “Legendary Ladies” played the Stardust, Orleans and Suncoast over the years.

Gore was born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey. Producer Quincy Jones discovered her when she was a teenager, and she went on to sign with Mercury Records. Gore’s early records were some of Jones’ first big hits.

The singer broke out into the music scene in 1963 with “It’s My Party,” which raced to No. 1 on the charts, was nominated for a Grammy and sold more than one million copies. She followed that up with such hits as “That’s the Way Boys Are,” “She’s a Fool,” “Maybe I Know,” “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” and “You Don’t Own Me,” which sold more than one million copies as well and landed her a No. 2 spot on the charts.

Gore was nominated for an Oscar, along with her brother Michael, for co-writing “Out Here on My Own” from 1980’s “Fame.” Her other film work includes co-writing “My Secret Love” for Allison Anders’ 1996 film “Grace of My Heart.”

She also appeared on Broadway, having a role in “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” in the late ’90s.

Her most recent album came in 2005 with “Ever Since,” her first album in 30 years. Near the end of her life, Gore had been working on a stage adaptation of her life.

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

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