NEW YORK (AP) — Singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, who topped the charts in 1963 at age 16 with her epic song of teenage angst, “It’s My Party,” and followed it up with the hits “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” and the feminist anthem “You Don’t Own Me,” died Monday. She was 68.

Gore, a nonsmoker, died of lung cancer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, according to her partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson.

“She was a wonderful human being — caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian,” Sasson, a jewelry designer, told The Associated Press.

Brooklyn-born and New Jersey-raised, Gore was discovered by Quincy Jones as a teenager and signed to Mercury Records. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in English/American literature.

Gore’s other hits include “She’s A Fool,” “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows,” which Marvin Hamlisch cowrote, “That’s the Way Boys Are” and “Maybe I Know.” She co-wrote with her brother, Michael, the Academy Award-nominated “Out Here On My Own” from the film “Fame.”

She sang at the 1964 T.A.M.I. Show in Santa Monica, Calif., alongside future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers like the James Brown and the Rolling Stones. Gore also played Catwoman’s sidekick in the cult TV comedy “Batman.”

“She was a serious artist that was way ahead of her time,” said Ronnie Spector in a statement. “She had a certain sound. But you want to be able to do new things too, and it can be hard on an artist that is so identified with a specific sound. Although she wasn’t in a girl group, Lesley was definitely a huge part of that era. But she continued to be creative, and kept looking ahead, and that’s how I will remember her.”

In a Facebook post, songwriter Neil Sedaka, who attended Gore’s Sweet 16 birthday party, shared his thoughts: “She was a great person and a phenomenal talent, who had opened for me on many occasions. She recorded a few of my songs (”Magic Colors” and “Summer Symphony”) and was a great songwriter in her own right. I’m glad I had the chance of knowing her.”

In the 1990s, Gore co-wrote “My Secret Love” for Allison Anders’ film “Grace of My Heart,” released in 1996. A couple of years later, she appeared in “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” on Broadway. Gore had been working on a stage version of her life with playwright Mark Hampton when she died.



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