News broke on Monday that singer, Lesley Gore, died in New York at the age of 68.
She passed away in a hospital after a cancer battle, according to her partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson. She is also survived by her mother and brother.
Gore was known for her feminist ballads like “You Don’t Own Me,” “That’s the Way Boys Are” and, probably most famously, “It’s My Party.” The track was produced by the infamous Quincy Jones and released in 1963. It has been featured countless times in entertainment since then, including movies like Mermaids and Problem Child.
But more than a successful singing career, Gore was a feminist and an equal rights supporter at the heart of the movement, and she even still supported efforts today.
1. Reproduction PSA
“You Don’t Own Me” was recently used in a PSA for reproductive rights, which featured Lena Dunham, Natasha Lyonne and other female celebs including Gore herself, who started the PSA with the assurance, “I approve this message.” She also says in the PSA, “Yes, ladies, we’ve got to come together, get out there and vote, and protect our bodies. They’re ours.
2. “You Don’t Own Me”
“I recorded ‘You Don’t Own Me’ in 1964,” Gore said, according to E! Online. “It’s hard for me to believe, but we’re still fighting for the same things we were then.”
3. She was an out-and-proud lesbian
She and her jewelry designer partner, Sasson, weren’t afraid to be themselves, even in a time where it was completely unaccepted by current society. Still, Gore fit in nicely with new-age feminism in that she was about equality for all and not just women’s rights.
4. In the Life
Starting in 2004, Gore hosted an LGBT-focused series on PBS called In the Life. In fact, she officially came out on the show, according to biography.com, saying, “I met a lot of young people in the Midwest, and I saw what a difference a show like In the Life can make to their lives in some of these small towns where, you know, there are probably two gay people in the whole damn town.”
5. She went to college
College itself may not qualify as a huge legacy these days, but for Gore, it’s definitely an accomplishment worth noting. She had a hugely successful music career when she decided to put it on hold to pursue her education. She studied English at Sarah Lawrence College, specializing in women’s studies, and graduated in 1968.
6. She was in touch with people
According to a 2005 interview with the New York Times, Gore explained that she loved her career because, “It really does keep me in touch with people, in a way that a lot of people don’t get a chance to be in touch with people.”