1946 - 2015

“I meet 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.”

– Lesley Gore

Lesley Sue Goldstein was born in Brooklyn in 1946 but grew up in Tenafly, NJ. She was a junior in high school when she was discovered by legendary producer Quincy Jones, who produced her 1963 hit "It's My Party" – a song which has achieved legendary status in the classic rock cannon. It remained at the top of the charts for two weeks and prompted Gore to record the Top 10 answer song "Judy's Turn to Cry". Her next two singles – "She's a Fool" and 1964’s most empowering feminist anthem "You Don't Own Me" – were also Top 10 hits. Additional Gore hits included "Maybe I Know," “That’s the Way Boys Are” and Marvin Hamlisch’s first hit composition "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows." After conquering the music charts, Gore branched out and began acting. Her film appearances included “Ski Party” and “Girls on the Beach” as well a performance in the concert film “The T.A.M.I. Show.” Her most notable acting role was that of ‘Pussycat’ – Catwoman’s sidekick on the 1960s Batman television series – where she introduced the single “California Nights.” In spite of her unrivaled recording and acting success while still a teenager, Gore refused to give up her education at Sarah Lawrence College. During most of the 1970s she remained out of the spotlight; but in 1980 Gore resurfaced when "Out Here On My Own," a song she co-wrote with her brother Michael for the film “Fame”, was nominated for an Oscar as Best Original Song. Throughout this period Gore continued to act on stage and on television. Her life story also inspired the 1996 movie “Grace of My Heart” in which a 1960s bubble-gum singer is shown to be a closeted lesbian. She released her final album in 2005 and came out publicly the same year. Gore also hosted several episodes of the LGBT newsmagazine series “In the Life” on PBS. She died of lung cancer on February 16, 2015 at the age of 68 and was survived by jewelry designer Lois Sasson, her partner of 33 years. Though she achieved only minimal financial success from her recording career, Leslie Gore remains one of the most iconic women in the early history of Rock ‘n’ Roll.


Gender Female

Sexual Orientation Lesbian

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch Information Age (1970-present)

Field(s) of Contribution





Original Biography Author
Victor Salvo
Biography Edited By
Owen Keehnen
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell